George Gilbert Scott, perhaps the greatest ecclesiastical architect of the time, designed All Souls on a grand scale, having in mind the nave of one of the great Yorkshire abbeys.
With the aid of the First Parliamentary Grant to the Commissioners for New Churches, following the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Parliament approved £1 million to build churches in industrial areas to tackle the perceived threat of civil unrest caused by the mass migration from the countryside into the rapidly expanding towns.
The parish was formed in May 1831, mainly from that of St Peter’s parish church. Originally built to designs by Peter Atkinson and Richard Hey Sharp the first stone was laid on 23 April 1823 and the church was completed in the autumn of 1825 to be consecrated on 13th January 1826.
In 1827-8 a floor was installed in the tower to create a ringing chamber and one bell. The west gallery was added in 1832-3, which suggests that the original open arch into the base of the tower was closed at this time and the grand stone staircase installed. The south gallery with access staircase located in the southwest corner was installed in 1836-7 (the outline of which can still be traced on the walls) and the organ screen in 1838. All to the designs of RD Chantrell.
The church was subsequently altered by Adams and Kelly in 1873 who seamlessly introduced window tracery; reordered the chancel area and installed new pews to replace the former box pews. Further alterations in the early 1900’s included removal of the south gallery.
St Mark's contains a fine collection of stained glass by well known stained glass painters such as Clayton and Bell.
The churchyard was opened in 1831, closed for burials in 1958. In 1994 it was designated a Leeds Nature Area. The churchyard contains a great number of headstones and monuments, including obelisks, columns with urns and tabernacle like structures of which eight are Grade II Listed in their own right. They bear witness to the wealth of the inhabitants of the area in the last century. Most were professional people and their skills are often mentioned on their headstones, such as one near the west door commemorating a bone setter. Among the graves are those of the March family and Charles Maclea JP who was Mayor of Leeds from November 1846 to January 1847.
Within the churchyard there are also six War Graves protected & maintained by the War Graves Commission. Among them is the grave of Marian Lapish of the Women’s Royal Air Force killed in the First World War.