This beautiful and finely designed Anglican church is a great example of Gothic style and one of the nicest of the Smith’s Parish churches.
Excavation works in 1998 revealed that it is in fact the third church built around the site: the original Harris Bay Church was first erected across the street, South Road, in the mid 1600’s before being rebuilt on the same spot in 1712.
It was following the fall of the church during renovation works that St. Mark’s Church was finally built on the site. The cornerstone was laid in 1847, while the church was named St. Mark’s in 1857 after the apostle who wrote the second gospel. At the time, the church was a simple square construction, with arched windows and a gable roof.
The only relic left from the original Harris Bay Church, that stood where the graveyard now is, is a silver chalice dated from 1676. A Gothic tower of over 100 feet high and an octagonal spire topped by a cross were added later in 1876 by Reverend George Tucker and parishioner Jeremiah Scott Pearman, who dedicated his time to the care and ornamentation of St. Mark’s Church.
Bermuda limestone was used for the front of the church, which was created by convicts. Inside, the pews are made of mahogany logs from the Turks Islands, while the altar, pulpit and reredos are all made of Bermuda cedar wood and carved by a local artist.
The first chime bell-ringing took place on Sunday, May 14, 1911, to honour Reverend George Tucker who died in 1908 after being rector of St. Mark’s for nearly 40 years. The chimes consisted of 10 bronze bells cast in England and were the first chime bells in Bermuda. The smallest of the bells measures 18 inches in diameter, weighing 126 pounds, and the biggest is over 37 inches and weighs 1011 pounds. There is another single bell on a swing wheel that was cast in New York and presented to the church in1879.
St. Mark’s Church is also known for its graveyard where the graves are elevated. Former US Consul General Charles Maxwell Allan is buried here, who died in Bermuda in 1888.
Works have started in April this year to enlarge the pavement that passes along the church on South Road which will push the wall of the graveyard back 4 feet.
St. Mark’s Church, Smith’s Parish – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles ‘Things To Do’ in Bermuda series!
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