Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1800 - 1819

Address :
St. Mark’s (C of I) parish church Church Street Newtownards Co Down BT23 4AN


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4849 7430

Owner Category

Church - C of I

Exterior Description And Setting

Set on the North side of Church Street at the corner of William Street, St Mark’s Church of Ireland Parish Church is pleasantly sited within its own grounds. The original church had a simple cruciform layout. In c.1858 the north transept was demolished and a large ‘full length’ extension was added, effectively doubling the foot print. The result is a fine Gothic Church in Perpendicular Style. The original portion is constructed in Scrabo ashlar stone. The ‘extension’ is constructed in a squared, snecked, rock face, Scrabo stone. The main entrance door is located within the south face of the square tower. Some of the stone work in the vicinity of this door has been repaired using ‘coloured render’. An octagonal stone spire, surmounted with croquette, sits on the square tower. The tower is finished with tall, stone, croquetted pinnacles and stone decorative balustrade. Beneath this is a slatted, equilateral arched, panel tracery opening with drip moulding and label stops. Similar opening to all four faces. Window openings rest on string course. Beneath this is a Victorian clock face (to the south face) with hands; to the north and west the each face appears original (metal) and without hands. Beneath each clock face is a tall lancet window which rests on a string course. Below this, on the south face, is a carved coat of arms surmounted with a moulded drip stone with label stops. Beneath this is a glazed gas lamp (now electrified), which surmounts the equilateral arched main entrance door opening. The door is single leaf and panelled. To the west side is a panel tracery opening which gives light to the porch. To the right of the door are two large panel tracery openings separated from each other by a stepped stone buttress which is topped with a croquetted pinnacle. On each face of the offset square (plan view) pinnacle is a carving of a head. Above this is a castellated parapet much of which was recently rebuilt in matching stone. To the right of this is the transept, the east and west facades of which are blank. The south face has a panel tracery window, as before. The transept also has buttresses as before but diagonal. The window reveals appear to have been rebuilt in matching stone. To the right of this are a further two panel tracery windows as before. The gabled sanctuary projects out from the nave gable, on the east side. Both gables have castellations as before. To the right of this is the gable of the ‘extension’ which has a plain stone parapet. Pinnacled stone buttresses as before. There is a centrally positioned rose window. To the right side of the ‘extension’ gable is a small, single storey, shouldered gabled, hall. Between the hall and the sanctuary is a small lean to projection which houses the vestry. The vestry has a square headed, panel tracery window. The south face of the hall has three, off centre, paired lancet windows with moulded dripstone with label stops. The east face has a ‘Y’ tracery window opening. To the right hand side of the north face is one paired lancet window as before with a door opening with matching moulded drip stone. The hall is finished in ashlar Scrabo stone, the lean to is finished in rock face snecked rubble. To the north face of the extension are four panel tracery windows, with buttresses, parapet etc all as before. To the east gable of the extension is a rose window, the pattern of which is formed from quatrefoil motifs. In the centre of this gable is a small gabled porch, the north of which has a simple tracery window opening. The south has a ‘wide lancet’ door opening with moulded drip stone and sheeted timber door. Cast iron gutters and down spouts. Bangor blue slates with dark blue fire clay ridge tiles.


Not Known

Historical Information

This church was constructed in 1816 at a cost of c.£5,446, of which £831 was a gift, and £3,692 a loan from The Board of First Fruits. The remainder (£392) was donated by the Londonderry family, though some authorities claim that the family’s actual contribution amounted to roughly a quarter of the total cost. The church is described in the OS Memoirs of c.1834 as ‘a neat, ornamented building’ and the ‘prettiest’ in the town. Originally the church was meant to have been dedicated to either St. Finnian or St. Columba, both of whom are believed to have had important connections to Movilla Abbey. The eventual dedication of the church to St. Mark, however, may have been due to the influence of the parish rector Rev. Marcus Cassidy. The date of the building of the extension to the north is uncertain, with various sources offering different years between c.1840 to 1866. The Churches’ own literature suggests a date of c.1857, however, this does not appear to be borne out by the OS Map of 1858, but could be explained if the map were being drawn up in the middle of construction. The pulpit is said to have been added in 1868 and the choir vestry to the east was built in 1958. References- Primary sources 1 PRONI D.1088 Cassidy Papers- The papers of Rev. Mark Cassidy as perpetual curate of Newtownards, c.1810-20. 2 PRONI D.654/M35-36 Londonderry Papers- maps of Newtownards town (c.1770-1940)- Newtownards Corporation (1811-26). 3 PRONI VAL 1B/322 p.56 1st valuation, parish of Newtownards, Corporation North, 1833. 4 PRONI Ordnance Survey Maps 1st Edition 1833/4, Co. Down 6. 5 Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol.7: Parishes of County Down II, ed. Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams ( QUB 1991), p. 106. 6 PRONI Ordnance Survey Maps 1st Revision 1858-60, Co. Down 6. Secondary sources 1 Trevor McCavery 'Newtown- a history of Newtownards' (Dundonald 1994), pp.108-9. 2 W. Edgar ‘Notes on the history of three Newtownards churches’ in Ards Historical Society publication No.2, pp.52-59. [This article dates the nave extension to 1866.]

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation H-. Alterations detracting from building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

X. Local Interest Y. Social, Cultural or Economic Importance


Fine perpendicular gothic church of 1816, extended in c.1850s. The ‘extension’ replicates the detail of the original but with two major exceptions, notably the rock-faced finish to external stone (as opposed to ashlar) and exposed arch braced trussed ceiling (as opposed to groin vaulted plastered ceiling). These divergences reflect the evolution of style during the 1800s, and though carefully conceived the later portion makes for an unusual contrast.

General Comments

Date of Survey

Wednesday, April 08, 1998