The area we now know as Kempshott was, for several centuries, part of a larger area of common grazing land known as Basingstoke Down. Following the common land enclosure of the late 18th century and the relocation of the Basingstoke common land to the eastern side of Basingstoke, this rural area gradually became enclosed farmland
However, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries areas of farmland were being sold to developers of ‘homesteads’ which consisted of a small, basic house and sufficient land to enable self-sufficiency. Many of these were later developed as market-gardens or poultry farms.
At this time Kempshott was part of the Parish of Worting and, together with adults worshipping at the Parish Church, the local children walked to Sunday School at St. Thomas Church. Following the Second World War, however, a Sunday School was also held in Kempshott Village Hall and from 1949 until he left in 1954 the Rector of Worting, Revd Hood, conducted weekly evening services in the village hall accompanied by the Worting church choir.
Throughout the 1960s various efforts were made to facilitate the development of an Anglican worshipping community in Kempshott and in 1975 the Revd Richard Simmons joined the staff of Worting parish and was given special responsibility for Kempshott. A Christmas service was then held at Kempshott Junior School and, the following year, regular weekly services and Sunday School commenced.
In March 1978 the church in Kempshott took on its own identity and became Saint Mark’s Church within the Parish of Worting, a Conventional District in 1984 and later a Parish in its own right.
Plans were then drawn for the building of Saint Mark’s Church and building eventually commenced in 1986, funded mainly by Winchester Diocese but with a contribution raised locally and the church was consecrated on 29 March 1987.
As housing development continued in the south-west corner of Basingstoke, new areas developed firstly Hatch Warren and then Beggarwood. The Methodist Church and United Reform Church started off by employing an outreach worker and buying a local property called Immanuel House. Around the same point the Diocese together with St Mark’s at Kempshott started exploring options to serve the developing community. A new church was formed by the three denominations meeting at the Community Centre. Whilst originally within the Parish of Kempshott the new church became Immanuel with St Mark’s, a Local Ecumenical Project, meeting at the Church Centre within St. Mark’s school. In 2007 Hatch Warren & Beggarwood became an Anglican parish in its own right, serving the local community.
St. Mark’s Church is built on the corner of a large open area of common land comprising a meadow and a small copse. The building is of modern design with a flexible worship area, large and small meeting rooms, a church office, kitchen, toilets and a recently constructed easy access ramp which has improved access to the church building.
The worship area is light and features three stained glass windows which were given in memory of a former parishioner. There is also a small bell tower featuring a bell cast in the 17th century and operated electrically, although rarely used.
We enjoy the benefits of the church building being located in the corner of Down Grange Meadow Nature Reserve, and have recently been developing a wildlife area within our church grounds. This, among other measures, has led to the church recently being awarded a Bronze Eco-Church Award.
The church building has parking for about thirty cars, including two disabled spaces. In addition to our wildlife area we have a grassed area used for outside events and activities as well as an enclosed play area for the pre-school and children of pre-school age. In a quiet area of the church grounds there are two Gardens of Remembrance, a closed garden where ashes were interred and a new extension where ashes are buried, each plot being marked by a plaque on the adjacent plinth.