Gate at St Marks Church

The story of St Mark’s church is a long and fascinating one, in fact there has been a worshipping congregation in Bilton for at least 900 years. Way back in 1086 the Domesday Book reported that the village known as “Beltone” had “23 Villeins, with a Priest and 9 Borders”.

The current building is believed to have been constructed in the mid 14th century, probably by Sir Nicholas de Charnels, who was Lord of the Manor at the time. The de Charnels’ coat of arms appears twice on the bell tower, one of the oldest parts of the church.

Known originally as St George’s, the church has undergone many changes over its long history, from the erection of a spire on top of the tower to extensive re-ordering and extension in the 1870s. The latest major addition was the south aisle, built in 1962 to create much needed space as the village’s population grew.  More recently (2012) a new North Porch was added as well a servery in the North Aisle.

St Mark’s has been a special place for thousands of worshippers over the centuries. Whilst the memories of most have been lost to time, many have left their mark behind for us to see. The church has an array of interesting and unusual features, from the leper’s window in the south aisle to the Pugin tomb in the churchyard, which continue to make fascinating discoveries for local historians and visiting schoolchildren alike.

For more information, a newly-updated booklet, with colour illustrations, entitled “The Parish Church of Bilton – A Guide to St Mark’s”, priced £2.50, can be purchased either from the Parish Office or the back of church.