St. Marks, Building
Saint Mark's Church, Parish of Dundela, Diocese of Down and Dromore, is on the Holywood Road, East Belfast. The building is situated on 'Bunker Hill', an elevated position, which allows this beacon of Witness, to be seen from many miles around.
It was designed in red sandstone by the eminent Victorian architect William Butterfield - also responsible for Keble College, Oxford - in magnificent Gothic revival style. The 150ft high bell tower creates the impression of a large church. It is an extravagant building, reflecting deep devotion to God.
Sir John Betjeman, a leading authority on architecture and particularly Victorian Church architecture, described St Mark's as "Butterfield at his best".
Mr Stephen Dykes Bower, a consultant architect to Westminister Abbey and foremost authority on Butterfield, was commissioned to supervise restoration work in 1976. Dykes Bower commented "It is an outstanding example of Butterfield's work... and a fine specimen Butterfield attempting to re-create the Gothic grandeur of a medieval cathedral." Dykes Bower designed and pendant lighting which gives a warm glow, akin to candle light.
The church has much treasured connections with C S Lewis who was baptised here.
The Old Rectory is a large red brick building on the south side of the church.
It was designed by S P Close and built in 1887.
Thomas Hamilton, the first rector of St Mark's Church and grandfather of C S Lewis lived here from 1887-1900. It was used as the rectory until 1976.
At present it is used as offices for the Church of Ireland Ace Ventures and the Church of Ireland Youth Council.
The building stands proudly in its own grounds. It does not take away from the splendour of the church but instead complements it.
This building together with the Heyn Hall beside the old rectory give St Mark's one of the finest suites of church buildings in Belfast or even Ireland.
The doorhandle of the Old Rectory is in the shape of a lion and may have inspired C S Lewis. The Heyn Memorial Hall at the corner of Sydenham Avenue and the Holywood Road was built in 1928-9. It was designed by R H Gibson in association with Henry Seaver and constructed by F B McKee and Co.
Paul Larmour in his illustrated architectural guide to Belfast describes it as "One of the finest parish halls in the country." It is built in Tudor style with red brick walls, green Norwegian slates, wood panelled rooms, and timber mullioned windows.
Upstairs, the youth room is known as the wardrobe and has a mural of Narnia recalling the parish’s association with C.S. Lewis.