It is an early and interesting example of his work, preceded only by his church and parsonage at Coalpit, Gloucestershire. The majority of Butterfield’s projects were ecclesiastical; his best-known church is All Saints, Margaret Street, London. He also designed the chapels at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford.

cautley interior

Butterfield figured prominently in the Gothic Revival in England and St. Mark’s is a good example of his endeavour to synthesise gothic style for his own era. This has the effect of making the building seem older than it really is.

The symbolism of numbers was of great interest to Butterfield and you will notice that the windows in the nave have a four-sided design at the top, probably symbolising the four evangelists. The windows in the chancel, however, feature the number three, representing the Trinity. Look out for other examples of these significant numbers in the wood carvings and the roof pinnacles outside.

The building of the church was undertaken by John Bateman of Sedbergh between 1845 and 1847, using Garsdale stone. The windows were made by William Brunskill and the commandment boards by Charles Castell.

The font was designed by Butterfield, as were the original pews. These were replaced circa 1908 by more comfortable oak seating, but two of the Butterfield pews can be seen at the back of the church. If you try sitting on them you will discover that they were not designed for comfort. Butterfield believed that congregations should spend the greater part of the service on their knees! The oak panelling and altar rail were also added around 1908.