St Mark’s was designed by the noted English architect, William Butterfield, an architect of high reputation and strong Christian principles. He designed many churches including his masterpiece, All Saints’ in London, and Melbourne Cathedral in Australia. Later described by the poet Sir John Betjeman as ‘Butterfield at his best,’ the church took over 12 years to build with its cathedral-like proportions and fine detailing.

Built in 1878, this fine new church was at that time surrounded by fields and woodland. This was the affluent Strandtown area of Belfast, where many of the Ulster-Scots industrialists of the day had their homes – families such as the Heyns, the Pirries and the Ewarts.