Category Archives: St Mark’s Church

Fancy some pancakes… and temptation…

As we head towards Lent we invite you to be tempted by some pancakes in our Pancakes and Temptation services on February 27 at St George’s, Badshot Lea, at 10am, and St Mark’s, Upper Hale, at 11am.

On the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday – the day before Lent – we like to make pancakes in church and think about the season ahead of us. It’s a sociable occasion but with a message. We celebrate with pancakes, but the Lenten season ahead of us is one when we reflect and prepare for Easter and the service will draw attention to this too.

This Lent we are looking at the theme of forgiveness. Further details are available here.

Picture by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash.

St Mark’s is shortlisted for a Surrey Heritage Award

We are thrilled to announce that St Mark’s has been shortlisted in the 2022 Surrey Heritage Awards.

St Mark’s, which was given Grade II listed status by English Heritage in December 2021, was entered for the awards following the restoration of the ‘Kitty Milroy murals’, painted by local artist Eleanor Catherine  Wallace Milroy, known as Kitty, between 1911 and 1920.

The Surrey Heritage Awards were established by the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust to recognise ‘Best Practice’ in historic building conservation in Surrey, and the murals have played an important part in the conservation of St Mark’s, a Victorian church built by local people in the 1880s and still a vibrant part of community life. The murals are now recognised as being of both local and national importance, particularly as examples of the development of mural art and the recognition of women’s painting in the 20th century.

Making the announcement, Surrey Historic Buildings Trust described St Mark’s as: “A late-Victorian church … noted for its stunning wall murals painted by local artist Kitty Milroy, a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art. These murals had deteriorated and faded after a century’s accumulation of dirt, so the local community rallied round to raise the funds for a major project to clean, repair and restore the murals to their former glory.”

Andy Smith, Director of Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, added: “The restoration of Kitty Milroy’s amazing murals at St Mark’s has been one of the most interesting projects the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust has been involved with in recent years, and I was delighted to hear that the project had been shortlisted for the Surrey Heritage Awards 2022. It was also wonderful to learn just a few weeks ago that the church had been given Grade II listed status. Hopefully this will generate greater interest in Kitty Milroy’s work, and in early-twentieth-century artwork of this kind.

“We are fortunate here in Surrey to have a number of churches with beautiful and intriguing wall paintings, including rare survivals from the medieval period, but the Milroy murals, dating from the period just before the First World War, are especially striking and thought-provoking. St Mark’s Church is very fortunate to have these extraordinary paintings and I hope more people will visit the church to view them.”

The murals were restored in 2021 by wall painting conservationists Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede who described them as “stunning” and called Kitty a “major, but unrecognised, artist”.

Lesley Crawley said: “We are utterly delighted that St Mark’s has been shortlisted for an award. It is testament to the love and care that has been poured into the church over many years – from when it was built by the villagers in the 1880s; through the installation of the Edwardian organ, affectionately known as Emily; and the painting of the beautiful Kitty Milroy murals in the early 20th century; and right through to the present day with the restoration of those murals.

“There is not just local history here but a real sense of a warm community building, cherished and used by the village where it has stood for almost 140 years, and where people can come to seek God and find welcome.”

A team of judges will visit St Mark’s on March 3 and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on March 30 at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge.

St Mark’s is open on Sundays at 11am and Wednesdays at 12pm for services. It is also open on the third Saturday of the month for a craft market, 10am-2pm. The next one is February 19.

There are six buildings on the shortlist. In addition to St Mark’s, the buildings are: The Old Well Cottage, Peaslake; Mansion House Farm, Crowhurst; Naggs Stable, Loseley Park, Guildford; Colquhoun Chapel, Brookwood; and The Horton, Epsom.

Pictured top is the chancel at St Mark’s with the Kitty Milroy murals.

St Mark’s from the community orchard.

Love Your Church Sunday

Next Sunday, February 13, is Love Your Church Sunday.

It’s a day to celebrate all the great things about our churches and the people who make church what it is.

Please come along and hear from lots of people about the things that they do at church and why they love their church. The times of the services are:

9:30am St John’s, Hale.
10:00am St George’s, Badshot Lea.
11:00am St Mark’s, Upper Hale.

And here on the website and on Facebook.

Small photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Large photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash.

The Literary Festival comes to St Mark’s

St Mark’s is one of the venues in the inaugural Farnham Literary Festival which takes place between March 5 and 13, and there is lots to enjoy here.

We kick off on Saturday, March 5, at 3-5pm with a Build a World Workshop, run by fantasy writer Paul Eggleton which offers the chance to create your own fantasy world and populate it with characters in a creative writing workshop focusing on the fantasy genre. This will be available virtually by Zoom link as well. There will be a charge of £5 to include afternoon tea. Please email for details.

On the morning of Tuesday, March 8, we will be running a Writing Memories workshop in conjunction with Right at Home home care agency. This will be by invitation only but to find out more, email Stella Wiseman.

We have two events at the church on Thursday, March 10. From 2-4pm there will be an Introduction to crime novel writing workshop with crime writer Joy Kluver, author of the Detective Bernadette Noel books, the latest of which Left for Dead has just come out. Joy will teach us how to create the heroes and villains of crime fiction. The cost is just £5 and will include afternoon tea. Please contact Stella Wiseman for further details and to book.

Then at 7.30pm on March 10, Farnham Theatre Association will be at St Mark’s with A Tale of Two Theatres, a rehearsed reading by professional actors Abigail McKern, Chris Reeks, David Wylde and guests based on a book compiled by Anne Cooper of memories  by those who knew Farnham’s Castle and Redgrave Theatres. The cost will be £5 and are available here or on the door. Refreshments will be served.

On Saturday, March 12, at 5.30pm we have the awards ceremony for our poetry competition A Poem for Farnham. Poet Ellora Sutton (pictured left), judge of the adult competition, will be there to give a reading and present prizes. If you haven’t sent your poem in yet, it’s not too late to do so as we have just extended the closing date to Monday, February 28. It’s free to enter and you could win £25. For further details click here.

On Sunday, March 13, at 2.30pm, there will be the awards ceremony for the Farnham Fiction Award.

There is lots going on across Farnham in the Literary Festival and to find out more visit the festival website.

Poetry competition – deadline extended

You’ve now got until February 28 to write A Poem for Farnham and enter it into our poetry competition which is forming part of the inaugural Farnham Literary Festival.

Take part in the competition and you could win £25 and be invited to our poetry evening on Saturday, March 12 at St Mark’s Church.

There is a children’s competition, open to under-16s, and an adult one, and all you have to do is write a poem about Farnham – what it means to you, what you like or dislike, what the town feels like to you, its history, its people… anything you want to write which means Farnham to you. The winner in each category will be awarded £25 and two runners-up in each category will be awarded £10 each.

Then send it in to us to reach us by 5pm on Monday, February 28. Send your entries by email to or by post to Poetry Competition, St Mark’s Church and Community Centre, Alma Lane, Farnham, GU9 0LT.

There is no word limit, but entries should be typed, double-spaced.

The children’s poetry competition is being judged by poet Coral Rumble and the adult one by poet Ellora Sutton.

Coral Rumble is an award-winning poet specialising in writing and performing for children. She has had four poetry collections published, with Things that Should be in a Poem out soon. Her verse novel Little Light was published last year and she has also written picture books and for children’s TV. You can find her at and she tweets @RumbleCoral.

Ellora Sutton, she/her, is a queer poet, museum professional, and critic. Her work has been published in the Poetry Review, Interpreter’s House, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, fourteen poems and Poetry News, amongst others. She reviews poetry for Mslexia. She tweets @ellora_sutton, or you can find her at

To find out more about the Farnham Literary Festival at St Mark’s click here, and to find out more about events at other places, click here.

Your February magazine is here

The latest parish magazine is out now and inside you will find news, events, ideas, reflections, advertisements, pictures, contacts and more, to give you a snapshot of what is going on across our parish.

There’s lots of good news at the moment and lots to look forward to this year. Read on and find out more… And don’t forget to enter our poetry competition – write a Poem for Farnham and you could win £25!

You can download the magazine here:

Come to the craft market!

Come to our craft market on Saturday, February 19, 10am-2pm at St Mark’s, Alma Lane, GU9 0LT, and buy lovely gifts and treats while supporting local businesses and individual crafters. There will be glass, sweets, hand and face creams, knitting, soaps, cards, pottery, candles and many other gifts, made by skilled local craftspeople. Along side this there will be live music and refreshments, plus a chance to see the Kitty Milroy murals.

And if you are a crafter, why not have a stall? Contact or 07842761919.

New Year, New Craft Market

Come to the craft market at St Mark’s this Saturday

Join us this Saturday, January 15, at St Mark’s between 10am and 2pm, for the first of this year’s monthly craft markets.

There will be pottery, soaps, glass, cards, jewellery, textiles and all manner of gifts for sale, made by local craftspeople. Browse and buy while you listen to live music, then take a look at the Kitty Milroy murals which featured on BBC TV last month. Then stop off for a hot drink, a savoury roll, cakes and biscuits.

Come and support small businesses as you shop and eat.

St Mark’s is a listed building

We are delighted to announce that St Mark’s is now a Grade II listed building.

Historic England this week named St Mark’s as one of the “most captivating places across the South East” and praised its “stunning” murals, painted by Kitty Milroy between 1911 and 1920.

The murals were restored earlier this year by wall painting conservationists Rickerby and Shekede and new lighting has been installed to show them off to their best advantage.

Kitty was an intermittent student at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. The Slade was noted for turning out a number of talented young muralists and Mary Sargant Florence, a major woman artist and muralist, led a fresco and tempera painting course there. There are records of Kitty exhibiting paintings both locally and in London, and drawings of the St Mark’s frescos were exhibited in the 1923 Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Her only other known fresco scheme was in the chancel of the chapel at St Elphin’s School in Matlock, Derbyshire, which she painted between 1921 and 1931. These frescos were lost when the chapel was enlarged in the early 1940s.

The side walls and east end of the chancel at St Mark’s are covered in colourful paintings of religious scenes, including the Annunciation. Milroy’s imagery appears to draw on works by Botticelli such as Primavera and Birth of Venus. Her depiction of The Song of Creation blends personifications of elements of the natural world with imagery taken directly from her surroundings, from local landscapes and flora to the faces of fellow congregation members. The figure of ‘Water’ is believed to have been modelled on the Milroy family gardener, Edwin Thomas Warner.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston explained that listing St Mark’s and other historic sites is a way of protecting “our valuable heritage for future generations to learn from and ensure they are on the map for local people and visitors to be proud of and enjoy.”

Lesley Crawley, rector of the parish, added: “We are thrilled that St Mark’s has received this accolade. The murals are a real gem and we are really thankful that Kitty Milroy’s art and skill are being recognised. She was a truly gifted artist and the murals are stunning examples of her work and a testament to her faith as they depict joyful psalms and biblical scenes as well as the Benedicite, also known as the Song of Creation. The murals are also significant from the perspective of local history as the people who modelled for her were local villagers and we are gradually discovering who they were.

“We welcome people to come and see these beautiful works of art and the church which was built in the 1880s to serve the village of Upper Hale and is still serving the local community today.”

The Longest Night

When Christmas hurts – Wednesday, December 22, 6.30pm, St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale

The season of goodwill isn’t good for everyone. Sometimes it is a struggle, particularly perhaps if we have lost someone, or if it brings back bad memories. Sometimes we are lonely or living in circumstances that mean that it feels hard to celebrate. Sometimes we just want a break from the relentless commercialisation and pressure of Christmas.

Every year we hold a quiet, reflective service for anyone who finds Christmas hard, or just wants to stop for a moment and rest. This year it is on Wednesday, December 22, at 6.30pm, at St Mark’s Church. All welcome (please wear masks).