The church, which was given Grade II listed status by English Heritage in December 2021, was entered for the awards following the restoration of murals in the chancel, 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 the county, and the murals have played an important part in the conservation of St Mark’s, which was built by local people in the 1880s and remains a vibrant part of community life.
The murals are now recognised as being of national as well as local importance, as examples of the development of mural art and the recognition of women’s painting in the 20th century.
Andy Smith, director of Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, said: “The restoration of Kitty Milroy’s amazing murals at St Mark’s has been one of the most interesting projects the 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.
“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 20th 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 are especially striking and thought-provoking. ”
The murals were restored in 2021 by wall painting conservationists Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede who described them as “stunning” and described Kitty as a “major, but unrecognised, artist”.
Rev Lesley Crawley, rector of the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, of which St Mark’s is a part, 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.”
The award results will be announced at a ceremony on March 30.