Church of St Mark and boundary walls to Stoney Stanton Lane and Bird Street
Heritage Category: Listed Building
List Entry Number: 1104904
Date first listed: 24-Jun-1974
Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jan-2013
Statutory Address: Church of St Mark, Bird Street, Coventry, CV1 5FX
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Statutory Address: Church of St Mark, Bird Street, Coventry, CV1 5FX
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Coventry (Metropolitan Authority)
Parish: Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference: SP3365879535
A former parish church, built in 1869 to the designs of Paull and Robinson, internally remodelled and converted to an outpatients department c.1973, reinstated as a church in 2017, and its associated boundary walls.
Reasons for Designation
The Church of St Mark, built in 1869 to the designs of Paull and Robinson, and the boundary walls fronting Stoney Stanton Road and Bird Street, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: as a competent example of an Early English Gothic Revival style church, showing considerable attention to detail with regard to its composition and deployment of materials; * Intactness: although repaired following wartime damage, the majority of the building as it stood in 1869 is still intact; * Artistic interest: for the high quality mural by Hans Feibusch, a nationally significant mural artist of the mid-C20; * Group value: the retention of the boundary walls contribute to the setting of the building.
Coventry's parochial expansion and reorganisation during the second half of the C19 resulted in the creation of St Mark's parish in 1869 with a parish church, designed by Paull and Robinson, being consecrated in the same year. In 1941 the church was damaged by bombs from one of the two air raids that took place over Coventry during the Easter weekend. It was subsequently repaired, which included the blocking up of the east window, and reopened for worship in 1947 with the Reverend Eric Buchan (1907-2001) taking over from the Reverend Wales as vicar. Buchan, during his time at St Mark's, organised an appeal which raised £750,000 towards the building of Coventry's new cathedral. It was also his idea that the Cross of Nails, constituted from three large nails salvaged from the ruins of the bombed cathedral, should, over a period of 40 days, be carried round the diocese from parish to parish and made the focus of prayer for the new cathedral. In 1960 unexecuted designs to reface the stone-built west elevation in brick and remove the belfry were drawn up by W. S. Hattrell and Partners of Coventry; their designs for a substantial, brick-built church hall, running parallel to the south aisle, were, however, implemented in 1962. In the same year the German émigré artist Hans Feibusch (1898-1998) began painting a wall mural on the east wall, the mural being unveiled in 1963. By 1965, following the small number of Orthodox and Lutheran congregations which had formed in Coventry since the Second World War, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was practising at St Mark's. In 1973 the church was made redundant and, along with the church hall, was subsequently converted into an outpatients department for the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital. The hospital vacated the building in 2006. In January 2017 the building was given consent by the Bishop of Coventry for occasional Christian worship to take place.
MATERIALS: it is of coursed, rock-faced sandstone with ashlar dressings, stone-coped gables and tiled roofs.
PLAN: the building is orientated north-east to south-west, though ritual compass points are used throughout this description. It comprises a clerestoried nave, lean-to aisles, a chancel with a lower ridge than the nave, a south vestry, a north porch, a north organ chamber and a bell-cote over the west end of the north aisle. The church hall of 1962, which lies parallel to the south aisle, is not of special interest.
EXTERIOR: of a C13 Early English appearance, the former church consists of a five-bay, clerestoried nave rising over five-bay, lean-to aisles with a narrower chancel set at a lower ridge line than the nave. The west end of the aisles, the north porch and the east end of the church all have angled buttresses whilst diagonal buttresses divide the aisle bays and frame the west door; all with offsets. A chamfered plinth and sill course, both of ashlar, run round the whole building. To the west end, set beneath a 'gabled' hood mould, is a pointed, double doorway with paired jamb shafts and a surround of two chamfered orders. A pair of two-light, plate-traceried windows with cusped lights and trefoils are placed over the doorway whilst the gable contains a circular window. Set over the west end of the north aisle is a double bell-cote formed of two lancets with a tiled roof surmounted by the base from a former cross finial; the original, single bell has now been removed. To the west end of the aisles, the aisle bays (with the exception of the west end aisle bays), the clerestory and the organ chamber, there are two-light, plate traceried windows with cusped lights; the aisles and chancel with quatrefoils and the clerestory with plain circles. The bay at the west end of the north aisle contains a gabled porch with a pointed doorway, jamb shafts and a surround of a single chamfered order. The original window opening to the bay at the west end of the south aisle was formed into a doorway in 1962 to provide access through to the church hall. In c.1973 the original window opening to the north wall of the organ chamber was formed into a doorway, to which there is a low, disabled access ramp. The east end of the church is blind following the blocking up of the east window following wartime damage. INTERIOR: the former church has a five-bay nave arcade of pointed, double-chamfered arches which are carried on round piers and responds with large, crocketed capitals. The chancel arch is similar but is carried on two brackets in the form of capitals. The majority of the roof structure is hidden by a false ceiling, inserted in c.1973, but a section is visible over the chancel where paired hammer-beam trusses rise from wide stone corbels and support lateral braces which connect to the purlins; the ceiling is boarded with a chevron patterning over the east end. Although the majority of the internal fixtures and fittings were removed in c.1973, the interior is notable for a mural painted on the altar wall by the German artist Hans Feibusch. Painted between 1962 and 1963, in a free expressionist style, it measures c.12m high by c.6 metres wide and depicts the Ascension of Christ into Heaven.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: a boundary wall of coursed, rock-faced sandstone with stone copings encloses the church on the north and west sides.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 22/03/2017
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 218585
Legacy System: LBS
Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Wedgwood, A, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire, (1966), 264
Powers, A, Feibusch Murals: Chichester and Beyond19
Stephenson Clarke, R N , The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Volume VIII, (1969), 316-21, 361-67
Discovery of forgotten treasure at Coventry church, accessed from http://www.divine-inspiration.org.uk/news/42-feibusch-st-mark-swanswell
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing