|St Mark's Churchyard||Hackney|
From the 1840s, Dalston was rapidly expanding as a middle class suburb and in the 1860s a planned residential development was built on land owned by the Lord of the Manor. The population was initially served by an iron church, which St Mark's Church was built to replace in 1863-66. One of the largest parish church in London, it was nicknamed the Cathedral of the East. The tower, built in 1877-80, features a turret barometer, probably the only working one in Europe. The church is surrounded by a churchyard garden with lawn, some shrubbery and notable mature trees around the railed perimeter.
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
From the 1840s the area around Dalston was rapidly expanding as a middle class suburb, although around St Mark's Rise remained fields and market gardens until the 1860s. Much of the land was owned by the Lord of the Manor, William A Tyssen-Amhurst, whose family by then had the largest landed estate in Hackney. In the C17th Francis Tyssen was Lord of the Manor of Hackney and lived in the manor house of Shacklewell, a C16th house that had once been the home of Sir John Heron and his wife Cecilia, whose father was Sir Thomas More. Speculative residential development began to be laid out on the Tyssen-Amhurst estate in 1860 and St Mark's Church was built in 1863-66 in the centre of the development, its site given by Tyssen-Amhurst, whose surveyor, Chester Cheston, Jnr., designed the building in 1862. It replaced an earlier iron church in Ridley Road, known as the 'tin tabernacle', which had been erected in 1860 to serve the growing population, but was destroyed in a storm in 1865. One of the largest parish churches in London, St Mark's became known as the 'Cathedral of the East'. Although the foundation stone was laid by the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1864, the church was not consecrated until 1870. Its first vicar, Joseph Green Pilkington was responsible for embellishing the building, which he described as 'brutally ugly'. Among his additions were stained glass windows, 3 manual organs built by Henry Speechly in 1871, and the tower designed by E L Blackburne, built in 1877-80, which features an unusual turret barometer, based on one which the Revd Pilkington had seen on the church of St Germain L'Auxerrois in Paris. This can still be seen on St Mark's tower and may be the only working one in Europe.
Adjacent to the church is the church hall and vicarage. The church is surrounded by a churchyard with lawn, some shrubbery and notable mature trees around the perimeter, within iron railings.
The Buildings of Hackney; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); St Mark's Conservation Area Appraisal 2008; John Leonard, 'London's Parish Churches' (Breedon Books Publishing Co, 1997), pp164/5.