St Martin’s is the perfect High Victorian church, and was built in response to the rapid urban development of the south cliff that had taken place since 1845.
The church was designed by George Frederick Bodley from Hull. He was commissioned by Miss Mary Craven, a spinster, also originally from Hull, whose generosity ensured the success of the project. Bodley employed the newly formed firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company to complete the decoration and stained glass, and the church was consecrated in July 1863.
The windows exhibit designs by William Morris, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb and Ford Madox Brown, while the pulpit, and east wall are decorated with paintings designed by Rossetti, Morris and Burne-Jones.
The form and furnishings of the church are the product of the medievalism of Victorian art. St Martin’s remains today the physical and spiritual heir to the love of ritual and worship inspired by the Oxford Movement of the 1840s. The church represents an increasingly precious inheritance in art, history and worship.