North End Team Ministry

Three Churches, One Parish

  • St Marks Church
  • Derby Road
  • Portsmouth, UK
  • PO2 8HR

023 9266 5753
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First, a note: 

St Mark's is the oldest of the three churches in our Team.  It was, once, the 'mother-church' of the parish, with St Francis (1936) and St Nicholas (1930) being seen as 'daughter-churches' (along with a number of other churches in the area, which have since become parish churches in their own right).  This is no longer the case...all three churches have equal status within the Team.

However, because of this history, a history of the Parish is almost inevitably dominated by St Mark's.  This is also because of the momentous changes which took place in the buildings used by the congregation of St Mark's.


In time, we hope to add details of history of St Francis and St Nicholas - once such details are forthcoming from congregation members!

We also hope that website readers will please feel free to send comments, corrections, photographs etc to us, via the Contact Us page


Old St Marks from Derby Road

North End was sparsely populated, and the authorities were approached by Messers GE Kent, WD King and JJ Young to hold services in the North End Hall.

There were many objections, but on 20th April 1868 a temporary Church was opened in an upper room of the dance hall of ‘The Clarence Gardens’. The Rev'd NG McGachen was appointed priest-in-charge, but did not stay in the post very long.  A further two priests were appointed, but soon left, and the mission was closed down and services suspended.

 Old St Marks Postcard

 Old St Marks Aerial View


Old St Marks from SW


The Rev'd S Lidbetter was appointed priest-in-charge; the population of North End was growing and a piece of land at the corner of London Road with Derby Road was given by Winchester College for the erection of a new building and during his first year mission halls were opened at Rudmore and Stamshaw.

The foundation stone of the permanent building was laid on 23rd December 1872.

The building was designed by Mr Arthur Bloomfield and built by a local builder, Mr Quick of Southsea costing £2,904 with the Campanile (bell tower) a further £3,000.  The building had no south aisle and extended only as far as the old north door. 


The Rev'd Lidbetter was appointed Vicar of St Mark’s Church

William Mudge LLCM was appointed organist

A vestry was added facing London Road

The Rev'd G Dandridge was appointed Vicar and W J Granger appointed organist

The south aisle was added to the church

The Rev'd J Randolph appointed Vicar and an iron church was erected and dedicated to St Saviour, in Stamshaw

Mr A Merrifield ARCO was appointed organist

 Old St Marks High Altar


Old St Marks Nave


 S Stephens Church

          St Stephen's Church     (interior below)

 Old ST Marks interior 1



A new parish was created out of the southern portion of the Parish and was dedicated to St Stephen.  This church was later to suffer damage during the Blitz in the Second World War.  The Holy Trinity parish was closed.
















An iron church was erected in Stubbington Avenue. A new organ was installed in St Mark’s Church, having been obtained from Christ Church in Ealing.  The mission at Rudmore was taken over by Winchester College

The Rev'd L Blackburne was appointed Vicar.  The Abolition of Pew Rents. The original organ was dismantled and installed in Corpus Christi (Roman Catholic) Church, Gladys Avenue.

Erection of the Parish Institute in Angerstein Road and completion of new vestries and extension of the North Aisle to include a Baptistery.  The old vestry became the Lady Chapel.

 Old St Marks Interior 2











St Mark's Church at Christmas c.1920

St Marks Church at Christmas c1920

Victor Spanner, BMus FRCO LRAM was appointed organist

Permanent Churches were erected in Stubbington Avenue (The Ascension) and in Stamshaw (St Saviour’s).  B T R Williams appointed organist

Ernest C Birch Hon RSCM was appointed organist

A portion of the Parish was devolved with the formation of The Parish of St Alban at Copnor












The Rev'd E Southam was appointed Vicar

New organ installed

The Rev'd F Colson appointed Vicar

The Churches of the Ascension and St Saviour became independent Parishes

The daughter church of St Nicholas, Battenburg Avenue, was consecrated and St Joan’s, a temporary building, erected the northern end of Northern Parade, corner of Hilsea Crescent.

The Rev'd B Aston was appointed Vicar




St Nicholas

 St Francis


Old St Marks High Altar 2

St Francis Mission was consecrated on a new site in Northern Parade replacing the temporary building dedicated to St Joan. 



The Rev'd E Millard was appointed Vicar

Enemy action damaged some of the building of St Mark’s Church, but not seriously.

Work carried out on St Mark’s Church to repair war damage - new glass replacing old.  The Victorian Reredos was removed and new altar rails added.  The font from the Baptistery was brought into the body of the main building of the Church.

The appointments of a new Vicar, the Rev'd Gerald Ellision, from 1946 until 1950, and new organist, Russell Shepherd FRCO (Chm) LTCL.  The choir was affiliated to the RSCM 18 October 1946

 Old St Marks Stained Glass

Russell Shepherd at the Console 

Russell Shepherd - Organist & Choirmaster 1946-1985 



Old St Marks Vicarage

The Old Vicarage - on the site of the present St Mark's Church 





















The Rectory Rear Garden

The New Vicarage (from the rear).  Shown in early 2008





The Rev'd G Pepys was appointed Vicar

The organ was rebuilt and rededicated

The Rev'd P. de Denne May appointed Vicar

Rev'd Tom Devonshire-Jones appointed Assistant Curate in 1963.  This photo shows him at the wedding of Alan and Margaret Pegley on 6th July 1963 - Rev'd Devonshire-Jones' first wedding.

Revd Tom Devonshire Jones 1963

(Photo kindly provided by Mr and Mrs Pegley)

The Rev'd Lloyd Gressle from St John’s Church, Wilmington, Deleware, USA, came to St Mark’s on an exchange visit.  The Vicar, P de Denne May, going to America for one year.

The church faced with increased costs for heating and a large and draughty building which needed a lot attention, the Church Committee of the time made the decision to replace with old Church and also to dispense with the St Mark’s Institute.

The sale of the old church site, onthe corner of Derby Road, enabled the purchase a new Vicarage away from the Church.  The site of the old vicarage was used for the construction of a new church building incorporating a ‘Worship’ Area and lower floor ‘Social’ Area


The Rev'd Bill Sargent was appointed Vicar.  During his time in the parish, he oversaw the opening of the new St Mark's building, and founded the Portsmouth Housing Association (now part of the First Wessex Housing Association).  To read a fascinating biography of the life and times of Bill Sargent, please
click here.

 Bill Sargent

 St Marks at completion

The new Church of St Mark was consecrated on 10 October

The building was initially not much loved!  A Quote from ‘Churches, Chapels and Places of Worship on Portsea Island; by John Offord (Published 1989)

‘The new St Mark’s Church (1970) was designed by John Wells-Thorpe.  The yellow brick cubic exterior is completely featureless; the only decoration is the stylised sculpture of the emblem of St Mark, which bears resemblance to the logo of a well-known brand of lager!  The interior continues  in the same drab, mundane style.  A tall vertical slab, containing one bell, stands before the edifice.  It is hard to believe that this will ever become “listed”!’



Images of the old church in the new windows

Image from Promotional Leaflet of new church - showing the old building in the windows of the new.


Front of promotional leaflet from 1970



St Marks Lion

The Bronze Lion of St Mark was fixed to the south aspect of the new church building, a gift of St John’s Wilmington USA.


Bill Sargeant inaugurated an Easter Procession from the Portchester Crematorium to the churches of North End - as a sign of the connection between Easter and death.  To see the newpaper article from the time click here























New St Marks Organ

A new, and (we think!) rather magnificent Hill, Norman and Beard organ was built and installed.


Scout Hut to the rear of the church car park was opened.


The Rev'd Ron Robinson was appointed Vicar until 1992. 

After an absence from the city of some years, Fr. Ron served as Priest of our neighbouring parish -The Ascension, North End until November 2009




The Rev'd Jeffrey Bell was appointed Vicar - until 2000. Now working in Tilford, nr Guildford (2009)


Fr Jweffrey Bell


During Father Jeffrey's time at St Mark's, the first woman deacon and later priest worked in to Parish until 2003.  This was the Rev'd Pennie Payne, affectionally known as 'Sister Pennie'

Sister Pennie Payne


The Rev'd Malcolm King was appointed Vicar


 Photo of Fr. Malcolm awaited


 Di Townsend

The Rev'd Di Townsend was appointed as Team Vicar (Designate) of St Francis.  She retired in 2010.


 Bev Robertson

The Rev'd Bev Robertson was appointed as Team Vicar (Designate) of St Nicholas.  She returned to her native Birmingham in 2010


The Parish of St Mark, Portsea, became the ‘North End Portsmouth Team Ministry’ (on the 22nd of June 2006).   

The church of St Mark is now overseen by a Team Rector and the former daughter churches of St Nicholas and St Francis now have their own dedicated Team Vicars.  The Rev'd Malcolm King was appointed as the first Team Rector.  Shortly after, he left for a new post at the Iona Community (on the Island of Iona).

 North End Team Logo


 Tom Kennar


The Rev'd Tom Kennar was appointed as Team Rector on the 27th of May.


September 2008             
Our new Community Cafe opens - run by volunteers from all three churches.  The Cafe serves good value food and provides a warm, welcoming place for local people to make friends.  The Cafe's motto is "stay as long as you like!" (unlike commercial cafe's which tend to need a steady flow of customers!) 

 Community Cafe



ETHOS is launched at St Nicholas.  See our
Ethos page for more information about this.

The Rev'd Canon Joseph Bain-Doodu (from Cape Coast in Ghana) is appointed 'Associate Priest', while studying Canon Law.  He returned to Ghana in 2011.

 Joseph with white background


New Parish Website launched in June


2010: New windows were installed in St Francis Church

April:  The Rev'd Di Townsend retired.

April:  A Five Year Plan for the parish was agreed

2010:  Rev'd Linda Denness appointed as Team Vicar St Francis

2011:  Fr. Charles Keay appointed as Team Vicar St Nicholas

2011:  Fr. Tony Forrest appointed as Team Curate

2011:  Mr Jeff Harvey (Reader) licensed to the parish with chaplaincy duties at Queen Alexandra Hospital

2011:  Fr Tom Kennar appointed Associate Area Dean (North Portsmouth) remaining Team Rector of this parish.

2012:  Fr Tom Kennar appointed Canon of Cape Coast Cathedral, Ghana (remaining Team Rector of this parish.

2014: Kim Weeks ordained at Portsmouth Cathedral in June, and priested at St Mark's Church on Sunday 7 December 2014.

2014/2015: Fr Tom Kennar appointed Rector of St Faith's Church, Havant (September 2014).  Tom's last service at St Mark's Church was on Sunday 11 January 2015

Current Team Rector: Rev Bryan Hackett

Pictures of St Mark's Church - taken September 2010

 St Mark - Lady Chapel 2010

Lady Chapel


St Mark  Organ 2010

Organ and Church Interior


St Mark Church interior 2010

Church Interior


Church Interior viewed from Narthex

Church interior viewed from the Narthex 

Refurbished Narthex (2010)  ....


St Marks Narthex

... and again


Carving of Our Lady and child - crafted from a piece of driftwood by the late Bill Judge