Description of Historic Place
Set in a neighbourhood of impressive 19th century residences, St. Mark's Church is a modest frame building, set back from the street, with a small cemetery to the north. Its location, at 51 King Street, on the hilltop, is known as 'Protestant Hill', and is located to the east of the commercial downtown, and, north of Lake Ontario.
St. Mark's Church has been recognized for its heritage value by the Municipality of Port Hope By-law 3120/78, passed on February 6th, 1978.
St. Mark's Anglican Church was originally a small church built in the Neo-classical style and dedicated to St. John. Built on land donated by Elias Smith, founder of Port Hope, the church was constructed between 1822-1824. The church bell was added, in 1826, by Jonathan Walton, co-founder of Port Hope. Consecrated in 1828, it remains Port Hope's oldest church, and second oldest standing building. The nave was enlarged, in 1842, to meet the needs of the growing congregation. In 1851, Kivas Tully was commissioned to modify the church, with the addition of a chancel, transepts and Gothic details. The congregation outgrew the building, once again, and the congregation moved to a new brick building, on the west side of the Ganaraska River. Abandoned for several years, the old church was re-opened, in 1873, by a group of devoted parishioners and re-dedicated to St. Mark.
St. Mark's was the home parish of Canada's first Canadian born Governor-General, Vincent Massey. He brought Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip to St. Mark's, to attend a service, on July 26th, 1959. They were staying at Massey's estate, in Canton, at the time.
This simple frame church is valued for its architectural features of wood construction and cladding, and Gothic elements, such as; the lancet windows with their diamond pane leaded glass; and main entrance with triple lancet doors.
The old burial ground to the north of the church contains the graves of many of Port Hope's founding pioneers. The first recorded interment was in 1822, and Bishop Steward of Quebec consecrated the cemetery in 1830. Few burials have occurred since the 19th century; the last being Governor General Vincent Massey in 1967.
Source: Heritage Designation By-law 3120/78, Port Hope ON.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of St. Mark's Church include its:
- frame construction with wood cladding
- nave, chancel, and transepts
- square 3-storey tower with castellated roof
- gable roofs (joined with a hip) and parapets
- Gothic elements, including but not limited to; twin and single diamond pane lancet windows, main entrance with triple lancet doors
- cemetery, including historic monuments and markers
- location on the hilltop of King St.
- proximity to the cemetery