The area of Hatch Warren and Beggarwood was originally farmland and house building in that part of Basingstoke did not commence until the early 1980s with the area which is known as Kempshott Rise. This was followed by the larger developments of Hatch Warren which started in 1987 followed by Beggarwood in 2001.
The Methodist Church and the United Reform Church had an outreach worker based in Immanuel House, Moorhams Avenue which was used for worship from 1990 and it also ran a mother and toddler group on a Thursday morning. This group moved to the Community Centre in 1992 and continues to meet to this day under the name of Little Angels. The Anglican Curate from Kempshott parish also lived in Hatch Warren. When the community centre was opened in 1992, the Anglican Church started worshipping there. Following the arrival of the Reverend Paul Taylor to the area in 1993, discussions started between the three denominations which culminated in a Local Ecumenical Project being established. The Church was called Immanuel with St. Mark’s in recognition of it’s close relationship with the church in Kempshott.
Following the opening of St. Mark’s school in 1996, the Church moved there to worship in the school hall. It also has its own area within the school which is for the sole use of Immanuel and comprises of a worship area, which is located to the left of the main school and church entrance, vestry, kitchen, storage area and toilets. The worship area can also be used for Church meetings and other activities. We also use the school hall for larger services, and during the pandemic, to allow for social distancing.
The three churches sold their two houses in 1999 and invested in a single house where the Minister lived.
Hatch Warren, and then Beggarwood, continued to expand rapidly, with the building of additional housing and the school was extended to take on the inevitable increase in number of pupils. As a result of this it became, and still is, the largest Church of England primary school in the Diocese.
In view of this rapid expansion of the area and the fact that the church was within a church school, it was decided that the area merited having its own Anglican Parish which took place in 2007. However, over the years the increase in numbers attending church has not materialised as had been envisaged and following the Parish Scheme review which was carried out by the diocese in 2020 the
parish has been reunited with Kempshott to form one new Parish called Basingstoke Down.