About usOur Friends and Heritage
The Friends: Safeguarding Our Heritage
All of our church buildings rely on the generous support of their Friends groups to keep them in good order and preservation for the future. Why not join one of our Friends partnerships and express your care for these historic yet living buildings at the heart of our community.
- The Friends of St.Mary’s;
- The Friends of St.Francis and of St.Faith’s;
- The Friends of St.Mark’s Churchyard.
The Friends Of St.Mary’s Church
Over the centuries St. Mary’s parish church has been the centre of Christian worship in Alverstoke, providing a place for the prayers of the community, both corporate and private, rejoicing in new birth at the baptism of children, celebrating marriages, and committing loved ones to the eternal presence of God.
Previous generations made great sacrifices and efforts to ensure that the church building here in Alverstoke has been maintained for us today.
Will you therefore help share in the task of handing it on to our children in as good, if not better, condition than we received it?
St. Mary’s Parish Church belongs to the whole community of those who live or work in the area. The doors are kept open as much as possible to allow easy access for those who want a quiet moment, perhaps in the chapel, for prayer, or to soak up the history and sense of continuity from just being inside.
The Friends Of St. Mary’s are a group of 150 people who appreciate the importance of the building to the community and who want to conserve it for future generations. They also meet socially for walks and day trips.
The “Friends Organisation” is a Registered Charity and all funds are therefore restricted to use in the upkeep of the church building itself.
How You Can Help?
By joining the “Friends” and making an annual subscription. This can be done by either Cheque or Banker’s Order, and, if you are a tax-payer, A Gift Aid declaration will enhance your contribution.
There is no fixed amount set for an annual subscription, but as guidance it is suggested that a minimum of £5 is realistic. Whilst this is the suggested minimum it must be emphasised that any donation, large or small is always most welcome.
Please contact the Parish Office for an enrolment form.
Another way to help the “Friends” is to include a Legacy Bequest in your Will, or add it as a Codicil to an existing will. A suggested form of wording is given below. If added as a codicil, the addition must be signed by the testator and witnessed by two independent persons.
Form of words:-
I bequeath to the Charity known as “The Friends Of St. Mary’s Alverstoke” (c/o the Hon Treasurer, The Parish Centre, Green Road, Gosport, Hants. PO12 2ET) the sum of £….. (in words……) free of all taxes and I declare that a receipt of a Trustee of the Charity for the time being will be good and sufficient discharge of it.
The Friends Of St.Mark’s Churchyard
St. Mark’s Church was built in 1844 as part of Robert Cruickshank’s development of ‘Angleseyville’. Cruickshank had arrived in Gosport in 1806, an energetic and forceful young man who prospered as an attorney and by 1820 began an ambitious project to create a watering—place and spa at Angleseyville, now included in Alverstoke. The elegant Crescent and Anglesey Hotel survive, although the Pump Rooms and Bath—house have long since disappeared.
An active entrepreneur starting schemes such as the Haslar Bridge and and a branch railway line to Stokes Bay, Cruickshank was also the Conservative Agent for South Hampshire, and in recognition of his services a sum of £890 was collected to buy him a gift of silver plate. He refused the gift but suggested the money should be used as a first donation towards the building of a church. Despite opposition from the Rev. Samuel Wilberforce, who did not want a church so close to his own parish church of St. Mary at Alverstoke, Cruickshank won the day and St. Mark’s, standing in a small churchyard, was consecrated as a chapel of ease in 1844.
Robert Cruickshank died in 1853, and was buried at St. Mark’s (Ref.24), as were his three daughters and second wife. Also buried there (Ref.110) are his son, grandson and family.
Sadly the church was declared unsafe in 1911 and demolished, although the outline of its walls remain. Some of the internal memorials were moved to St. Mary’s where indeed burials at St. Mark’s had always been recorded.
Map of St Mark’s Churchyard
The 252 memorial inscriptions at St. Mark’s Churchyard are here recorded; one of the earliest dates of burial being that of Robert Cruickshank himself. Most memorials are simple headstones, inscribed fenders or stepped crosses, although there are a few more elaborate coped stones or slabs with wrought iron rails. The churchyard was mostly used from the 1890’s to 1950’s, the last recorded burial being in 1974. At the time of writing (August 1981) the churchyard is very overgrown, brambles and ivy covering those headstones and memorials which project above the long grass, a fallen tree lying across several memorials. New instances of vandalism were noted in the weeks during which the inscriptions were being recorded.
The churchyard has not been formally closed.
- The Revd. Canon W.E.Rees;
- Mike and Mary Talbot, Hampshire Genealogical Society.
In Bloom in 2008
Our churchyard on the site of the former St.Mark’s Church is a calm and moving place to visit, cared for by its active Friends group whose practical care and gardening have maintained the churchyard as a pleasant memorial and garden in the Anglesey community. The friends of St.Mark’s value new supporters in their care and upkeep of the site.