Details of services are set out below, showing whether
the service is in Shipbourne Church or in Plaxtol church.
1st Sunday of month
2nd Sunday of month
3rd Sunday of month
4th Sunday of month
(when there is one)
Evening office This takes place every weekday (except Friday)
at 4.30pm. This is a short service and lasts about 20 minutes.
Christingle service On Sunday 31 January there will be a
Christingle service at Shipbourne Church at 10.30am, using the Children's
Society Order of Service and will be in aid of their work. The service
especially suits children but all are welcome.
Christenings, weddings and funerals Please contact the
Rector, Rev Andrew Procter if you would like to discuss a christening, a
wedding or a funeral at Shipbourne Church.
children... Some services are designed particularly with
children in mind: The family service is held at 9.30am on the
fourth Sunday of every month. The Nativity and Christingle
service at Christmas, when children take part in the nativity tableau
during the service. A new service, Community@4 (see below).
Playchurch at Shipbourne Church is aimed at pre-school and primary school
children and their parents. It is an opportunity for everyone with young
ones to meet and worship at St Giles in a relaxed atmosphere. Playchurch
takes place at 9.30am, normally on the second Saturday of each month. It
lasts about 3/4 hour with Bible stories and craft activities for the
children and is an opportunity for parents to have an informal discussion
on the week's theme. There will be refreshments for both children and
Playchurch will take place on Saturday 13
February 2016, 12 March, 9 April and 14 May starting at 9.30am.
got young children, it would be great to see you there. For more details,
call the Rector Andrew Procter on 01732 811081 or Mary Perry on 01732
Solid This group is for 10 to 14 year olds in Shipbourne and
Plaxtol. The aim is to help them as they start out in their lives in
their new schools and as teenagers. It features discussion on the Bible
and life issues, games, films and snacks. The next meeting of the group
will be at the new Community @4 service (see below). For more information
on Rock Solid, please contact Peter Brewin, 01732 810361 or at
Community@4 This is our new modern service and will be
held on the third Sunday of each month.
Suitable for all ages
Worship songs with a band
Discussions for different age groups
and play time for children
and share refreshments after the service
This will be held
from 4 to 5pm on Sunday 17 January in Plaxtol Church.
Worship Review In 2014, there was a review of worship
in the two churches in the joint benefice. Following wide consultation,
various changes were implemented for a trial period of a year. At the end
of this period a questionnaire was circulated, seeking views on the
success of these changes, and the replies have been analysed. The Rector,
Rev Andrew Procter, writes "I am grateful to all who participated in
the review of our experimental year in our life of worship. The PCCs have
now considered the outcome and this note is a digest of the main findings.
1. The Community@4 service has been well received and will continue
for the foreseeable future. There is to be further consideration as to its
venue but its overall style will be kept. 2. The 5th Sunday benefice
worship has also been liked and will be kept as our ongoing pattern on
those Sundays. 3. The monthly Family Services in both Churches are good
and will stay. There are ways to develop both of them which we will reckon
to implement. 4. The main Parish Communion Services. There is little
need for change at St Giles. Consideration will be given at Plaxtol to
taking up now recommendations originally made for its main communion
service but not implemented due to the pressure of launching Community@4.
The suggested ways to enhance both services mentioned on the original
review will be progressively implemented. 5. Matins is much liked and
will be retained at St Giles. Steps will be taken to publicise it more
widely around the diocese and to familiarise the congregation with its
liturgical structure. 6. Publicity and marketing. All the suggestions
of the original review remain worthwhile. Whilst a few have been
implemented most remain to be done. They need now to be put in place."
What else we do for the parish:
Farmers’ Market A Farmers’ Market is held at the
church every Thursday between 9.00 and 11.00. You can buy local produce
including breads, meat, vegetables, mushrooms, smoked fish, pickles,
cheeses and fruit. The church organises the Market as a service to the
For more information ring Bob Taylor 01732 833976
St Giles and Shipbourne Newsletter
The Newsletter contains information about the church and the local
community. It is produced by the church and delivered free to every house
in the parish. Further copies are available in the church and can also be
viewed online. Mrs Lindsay Miles
is the editor of the Newsletter; any items of news or adverts should be
sent to her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Her telephone number is 01732 810439.
Advertisements for the Newsletter should be sent to Tish Gourmelon (phone
The Harvest Supper The Harvest Supper is held each
year for the joint benefice at the end of September. See below for a
report on the Harvest Supper held in 2015.
Healing Prayer Group The group meets
on the third Friday of each month to pray for the sick. Anyone is welcome
to attend. Requests for prayer can be put on the prayer board in church.
For more details, including time and venue, please contact Jeannie King on
Our link with All Saints'
Chatham The benefice has established a link with the church of
All Saints' in Chatham. This church has recently opened the Magpie Centre,
a community centre close to All Saints', and this does valuable work
supporting people in the local community. The Project Leader is Linda
Fiddyment, who visited the benefice last November and spoke in Plaxtol
Church about the work of the Magpie Centre. The Rector and members of both
churches in the benefice have visited All Saints and discussed the
possible ways in which we could assist them in their work.
News of events in the parish
The Lenten course "Finding Different Ways to Pray" The
Lenten course will run on Sunday evenings once a month, between January
and April. Revd Suzanne Carlson, the Director of Spirituality for our
diocese, will facilitate the sessions. The Rector writes that the sessions
"will be low key relaxed evenings offering some guidance in how to
pray, a chance to practise individually and then some sharing of
The full programme is:
Listening to God in Stillness (Sunday 24 January) Praying
with the Bible (Sunday 28 February) Multi Sensory Prayer
(Sunday 20 March) God in my Day (Sunday 24 April) All
these will be from 8.00pm to 9.30pm in Plaxtol Church. As a fall back
for those who cannot make any of these dates we are offering two Saturdays
as alternatives when two topics will be taken. These are Saturday 20
February and 9 April. Times to be announced. Venue St Giles Church
The Harvest Supper in 2015 The Fairlawne
Home Farm barn provided the perfect setting for the Benefice's Harvest
Supper on Friday 25 September 2015. The long trestles were adorned with
apples from the Fairlawne estate and hay bales provided rustic seating.
A healthy £1,376 was raised for the two churches of the
Our thanks go to Fairlawne Estate for the generous
loan and preparation of the Barn for the occasion and for the supply of
estate apples and water; to all those who provided the food and drink
including all those who cooked the shepherd's pies and crumbles; to the
local businesses which generously donated the raffle prizes; all those who
helped to set up the supper or clear up on the day and those who organised
the quiz and provided the entertainment; and to the organisers, Kate
Symonds, Andy Doughty and Julia Sheraton who worked hard to make the
evening such a success
St Giles Summer
Fair - continued The Fair was re-run on 10 October 2015 when
all those attending enjoyed the traditional stalls and games as well as
teas served in the Village Hall. The children's fancy dress competition
attracted some fantastic entries.
With the combined takings
from the August Bank Holiday and October re-run, the Fair raised £3,190
for the church.
Warm thanks go to all who contributed by
running stalls, setting up and later taking down the stalls, providing
cakes and produce and prizes; to Fairlawne Estate for the use of the
spill-over area around the Village Hall; and to Viv Packer and Lindsay
Miles, the organisers, who worked hard to bring it all together on the day
Quiz night Plaxtol Memorial Hall
was the the venue for a hotly contested quiz night on Saturday 21 March.
Warm thanks go to Clive and Lynne Buddle, who set the questions and
presented the quiz, and to Mary Perry and her hard working team of helpers
who organised the evening, provided the food and drink, served it and
cleared up at the end of the evening. It was a successful and enjoyable
evening which raised money to support the work of St Giles church.
The Roux's return Albert Roux and
Michel Roux Jr returned to Shipbourne on Thursday 17 October 2013 to cook
an amazing dinner for 166 guests at the Chaser Inn. This was to celebrate the 10th
anniversary of the Shipbourne Farmers' Market and to raise funds for St
Giles' Church, for the Addington Fund and the Royal Agricultural
Benevolent Institution. Photos of the event can be viewed at
Where are we? The parish
church of St Giles' Church, Shipbourne is situated on the west side of
Shipbourne Common. Its address is:
St Giles Church Stumble Hill
Shipbourne Tonbridge Kent TN11 9PF
fabric of our church: our restoration appeal We are working with our
architect to develop detailed plans for the next phase of the restoration
work. This will involve:
Extensive underpinning of the Lady Vane
Chapel to stabilise the foundations and work to repair and make good the
cracks in the walls.
Restoration of more of the most damaged stonework,
mainly on the Tower.
We are already taking steps to raise the substantial
funds needed to carry out this work. We have some funds available for
restoration work but much more will be needed before work can begin.
applied to English Heritage for Lottery funding in 2011 and again in 2012
but were not successful.
will seek further grants and donations from grant making trusts and
will continue our successful programme of fund raising events. We have
held concerts by a professional choir from St Petersburg (April 2012) and
a flower festival during the Diamond Jubilee (June 2012), sponsored hymn
singing (August 2013) and most recently the Roux dinner (October 2013).
Each of these events raised funds for the Appeal. You can read more about
the restoration of the church below.
Our Churchyard Our churchyard is active
which means that it is still used for burials. It is a beautiful area of
just over an acre and we aim to manage it for everyone's enjoyment.
Management of the churchyard The PCC has altered its
policy for the management of the churchyard. Our aim is to manage the
churchyard so that it has an informal, rural appearance; we wish to
balance the need to ensure that everyone can get to the graves easily and
enjoy the peace of the churchyard while encouraging the wildlife and
widening the diversity of plant life. We have decided:
will manage some areas around the edge of the churchyard under the “God’s
Acre” guidelines, so the grass will be cut only twice a year; these areas
will be used by the children’s Playchurch and Boomerang groups for
observing wildlife and wild flowers.
areas around the paths will be cut and strimmed regularly.
other areas of the churchyard priority will be given to cutting the grass
between the graves, but the tops of the graves and other areas which need
strimming will be cut less often.
The cost of maintaining the
churchyard is met by a grant from the Borough Council and a contribution
from the PCC.
Our churchyard working parties of volunteers have done good work in recent
years in clearing graves which had become engulfed in brambles and cutting
back ivy and the encroaching undergrowth. A churchyard working party last
met on Saturday 3 October 2015. Warmest thanks to all who attended and to
Jeff and Jeannie King for providing coffee and biscuits as welcome
The next working party will meet in the Spring of
2016. Please come and help us. Bring your own tools, such as loppers,
strimmers, shears, spades etc and suitable protective gear. Your
assistance will help us to keep the churchyard under control, so that
everyone can enjoy it.
God's Acre and the
Kent Wild Life Trust at St Giles Shipbourne Mary Perry writes - "We aim
to encourage wild life into our churchyard. To do this we have designated
three small areas defined by hazel hoops where we have, with the children
who come to our youth groups, planted a selection of wild spring flowers.
We will allow the grass to grow and cut it after any wild flowers have had
the opportunity to set seed. To ensure that there is a variety of summer
flowers as well, we are sowing seeds and will plant them out as plug
plants. We are recording the species of flowers, fungi, trees, lichen,
mosses, grasses, mammals and insects at various times of the year. It is
our hope that once this scheme has established, we will be able to enter
the Kent Wild Life Trust Award scheme."
How we are organised
Shipbourne Rector Andrew Procter is the Rector of Shipbourne
with Plaxtol. He was installed as Rector at a service of induction on 20th
Andrew has been a parish clergyman all his working
life. He originates from Yorkshire and served a curacy and a first living
in the Pennines before another living in inner Bradford. For fourteen
years before coming to Shipbourne he was Vicar of Hextable and Swanley
Village. His wife Elizabeth is a Medical Consultant in Child and
Adolescent Mental Health in Gillingham. They have four children in their
twenties - two married daughters and two single sons - and a disobedient
Andrew can be contacted at: The Rectory, The Street,
Plaxtol, Kent TN15 0QG Telephone 01732 811081 e-mail
Governance The Rector is the Chairman
of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) which is responsible for the running
of the Church. The Annual Report and Accounts of the Church are presented
to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting which is held normally in April
each year. The members of the PCC are elected at this meeting from the
Church APCM The Annual Parochial Church Meeting took
place in Shipbourne Village Hall on Monday 27 April 2015. There were
reports on the activities of the Church over the past year and the
financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2014 were presented
for approval. The annual report provides further information on the
activities of the church during 2014. A copy of the annual report and the
financial statements for 2014 is attached.
Safeguarding The PCC has adopted a policy for safeguarding
children and vulnerable adults, in accordance with Church of England
guidance as set out in the House of Bishops' Policy, Protecting all God's
Children. This policy is on display on one of the noticeboards in the
Church. The Parish Children's Representative is Miss Glynis Coates
The Vulnerable Adults' Officer is Sir Paul Britton
The Bells The
tower contains six bells which were re-hung in 1993. Bell ringing practice
is on Thursday nights at 20.00. Call the Tower Secretary, Mary Clark on
01732 811265, if you would like to ring the bells.
The Choir sings at the 9.30 service every Sunday. Practices are held at
the home of John Young, the choirmaster and organist once a week on
Thursday or Friday. Contact John Young on 01732 810289 if you would like
to sing with the choir.
Flowers Felicity Ward organises the
rota for the flower arrangements in the church each week. Please contact
her on 01732 810525 if you would like to help with the flowers or to
discuss flowers for weddings or funerals.
sidesmen's rota is displayed at the back of the church.
rota Volunteers serve coffee and biscuits at the back of the church at
the end of the 9.30am service on Sundays. The list of those organising the
coffee is at the back of the church.
Cleaning the church The
church is cleaned by volunteers: details are shown on the list at the back
of the church. Please contact Mary Perry on 01732 810797 or by e-mail at
email@example.com, if you would like to help.
History of our church The present church was built by Edward Cazalet of
Fairlawne and opened for worship in 1881. It replaced a smaller Georgian
church which had fallen into disrepair; this church replaced an earlier
building which had been in use since the late middle ages. A leaflet
providing further information on the history of St Giles is available at
the back of the church.
How do we manage the
church's finances? St Giles' is responsible for all its own expenses,
including making a contribution to the costs of the diocese, and relies on
donations from parishioners and other friends from outside the parish, who
support the church’s work. Income from endowment funds provide some income
to maintain the fabric of the church and much of the funds required for
major restoration work on the fabric necessarily comes from grants and
donations as well as fund raising events. You can read further details on
the finances of St Giles Church in the annual report and financial
Donations to St Giles can be made by bank standing
order, an envelope scheme or by donations in church and benefit from Gift
Aid where the necessary declaration has been made. You can find
information on the envelope scheme and Gift Aid forms for completion at
the back of the church. Cheques should be made payable to "St Giles'
Church, Shipbourne". Further information on supporting the ministry of the
church can be obtained from the Treasurer, Martyn Williams, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01732 833751.
Giles Trust supports the St Giles Church restoration appeal
the funds which has been supporting the continuing restoration of St Giles
is a local charity, St Giles Trust. The Trust was set up in 1985 by the
Venerable Edward Maples Earle who was Rector of St Giles at the time, and
two Shipbourne residents, Bernard Russell and Aubrey Beach. Their aim was
to create a fund which would contribute to the cost of the maintenance and
decoration of the church’s fabric and the upkeep of its churchyard. The
Trust has continued to pursue these aims and it remains a local charity,
run by five trustees who are all members of the congregation of St Giles.
Over the years the Trust has contributed over £11,000 to various
projects. The Trust contributed to improvements to the lighting and to the
installation of the new oil fired central heating system. In 2008 the
Trust contributed towards the cost of the first stage of the restoration
appeal, which involved replacing the nave roof and doing urgent repairs to
the roof, stonework and joinery of St Giles’ distinctive tower. In 2010
the Trust contributed to the overhaul of the St Giles organ and the
restoration of the mosaic floor.
Since it was founded, many people
have contributed to the Trust, through personal donations or by making a
specific legacy in favour of the Trust in their wills; some people have
kindly donated to the Trust funds collected in memory of a loved one. All
these contributions have been greatly appreciated.
If you would
like further information on St Giles Trust, or would like to contribute to
the charity, please contact Nick Ward, who is the Chairman of the
Trustees, telephone 810525.
JUBILEE MEMORIES OF ROYAL CONNECTIONS WITH FAIRLAWNE AND SHIPBOURNE
By Sir Edward Cazalet View PDF
St Giles Shipbourne
Restoration and Development Appeal
launched an appeal in 2007 for funds for urgent repairs, and for
improvements to its facilities.
WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED SO FAR?
St Giles Church has been standing for 125 years but the structure is
showing its age. When the church was inspected by the architect in 2005,
she found that the nave roof was worn out, the roof of the Tower was
leaking, causing rot in the timbers supporting the roof, and some of the
stonework was badly damaged after being exposed to the weather for more
than a century. The pictures show the poor state of the roof and tower
before work began. The advice was that we couldn't patch it up any longer:
we needed a new roof on the tower and nave and extensive repairs to the
timbers, stonework and leadwork.
The tower and the roof
Fund raising started straight away. The Church applied to English Heritage
for a grant out of Lottery funds and we were delighted when they offered a
substantial grant towards the cost of the repair work. The exploratory
work carried out in 2007 revealed that the Tower roof was in a much worse
state than had been thought.
The repair work began in July 2008. The old tiles were stripped off, new
felt and battens were put in place and new tiles were laid on the roofs of
the tower, the nave and the north-east porch. The leadwork was repaired or
replaced where necessary to make St Giles watertight and ready for the
next 125 years. In the tower the structural timbers have been repaired
where they had been damaged by damp and a new dormer doorway has been
built in oak to replace the old one. The gutters were sand blasted and
repainted. A stonemason has restored or replaced individual stones on the
outside of the tower and on the wall of the West gable end, since many of
these had been eroded by the weather. He also carved a new gargoyle, so St
Giles will once again have a gargoyle on each corner of the tower. Finally
the cockerel on the weather vane has been restored and re-gilded.
Lady Vane Chapel
The Lady Vane Chapel in the South transept has been transformed. A new
glazed oak screen, in memory of Edward and Jocelyn Earle, has been
installed behind the choir stalls at the entrance to the chapel. The fine
Rysbrack sculpture, carved as a memorial to Lord Barnard and his family
who used to live at Fairlawne, has been cleaned and spotlights have been
installed so that the memorial can be seen properly. The other memorial
plaques have been cleaned. The whole area has been cleared and carpeted.
The chapel provides a space for private prayer, for signing the registry
at weddings or for meetings.
The Church floor
St Giles has a fine marble terrazzo floor, with complex designs mainly at
the east end of the church around the altar. Terrazzo flooring is made up
of small pieces of marble. This form of flooring was first developed in
Venice in the fifteenth century as a way of using up small offcuts of
marble. The technique has been greatly refined over the years. It provides
a tough and attractive flooring. However over the years some cracks had
appeared and the surface had become dull with accumulated dirt. In June
the conservators who worked on the Lady Vane Chapel carried out discreet
repairs to fill the cracks and where necessary replace missing pieces of
marble in the aisle and chancel. The colours of the marble have re-emerged
after cleaning. We hope to carry out further restoration work in the porch
and inside the main door when funds allow.
Our next project was to overhaul the organ. St Giles has a fine organ
which was built by Lewis and Co, a leading firm of organ builders in the
nineteenth century. It has a beautiful tone, the mechanism is virtually
unchanged since it was built and it has a fine case. The diocesan organ
adviser wrote about our organ:
“In thirty years as an organist…I have never come across such a wonderful
instrument. Any church possessing an organ built by T. C. Lewis has a real
gem for an instrument. The organs by Lewis are characteristic by their
wide range of colour, superb build quality, and if money allows (in
Shipbourne’s case) a superb case as well. While the organ needs a
full-scale restoration, it still has a fantastic sound – all in all a
really satisfying organ. You are so lucky to preside over such an
Like the church, the organ is more than 100 years old. Bishops the organ
builders stripped down the organ and carried out a thorough restoration in
their workshops during 2010. The work has been completed and the organ is
now in full working order.
WHAT ARE WE RAISING MONEY FOR NOW?
We are working with our architect to develop plans for the next phase
of the restoration work. She has advised that there is further restoration
work which is now urgent.
Shortly after the work on the Lady Vane Chapel was completed, some cracks
appeared in the walls. Most of these followed the line of old cracks which
had been filled and were thought to be stable. The cracks were carefully
monitored: they opened in dry summer periods and then partially closed in
the winter. Trial pits were dug in early 2011 and our structural engineer
advised that extensive underpinning would be required under the walls of
the Lady Vane Chapel, to stabilise the foundations and prevent further
movement during dry periods. Monitoring continues and at the least the
cracks must be properly repaired and made good.
Large areas of stonework on the tower and the west front were restored in
2008. Further work has been carried out on the lower level stonework in
October 2013. There are further areas of exterior stonework at higher
levels on all sides of the church, which are in poor condition. The
damaged stones need to be replaced or repaired by a stonemason. Some
re-pointing is needed. This work will require scaffolding.
Repairs to the north west porch On the church
architect's advice, we have engaged a specialist firm to replace or
restore the badly damaged plaster in the north west porch, and carry out
repairs to the metal gates at the entrance to the porch.
How much will this cost?
Based on the preliminary estimates we have received, we estimate that the
next phase of the restoration work will cost in excess of £200,000. We
have some funds available but much more is needed to complete this
programme of work.
What else remains to be done?
Even after completing the next phase of the restoration there will still
be much to be done. This includes
the vestry: this needs some refurbishment,
including a new carpet
exterior stonework: further repairs on the
lower walls and the walls surrounding the churchyard
the Chancel: the fine decoration on the
East wall of the chancel has been badly damaged over the years by damp. It
has been stabilised but restoration will require painstaking work by
the floor: there are areas of the
attractive marble flooring which are cracked or damaged and these need
metalwork: on doors, gates and windows
the churchyard: some of the graves need
Plans are being developed to improve the church’s facilities, including
better storage, simple kitchen facilities and a WC. We are thinking about
the church’s needs in coming years and considering how best to improve the
facilities in a way which is sympathetic to the character of our wonderful
The church's architect was asked to investigate
possibilities and draw up plans. The first two projects were completed in
March 2015. They were to:
casters to the base of the six rear pews on the south side of the aisle,
so that they can be rolled forward, when required, to create a larger
space at the rear of the church for social gatherings; and
install drawers or lockers at ground level below the seats in the font
screen at the west end of the church, to provide additional storage space.
Plans have been drawn up to install a small servery at the rear of the
church, to provide facilities for serving hot drinks, and to provide a WC
in the churchyard. Further work is being carried out to establish whether
these improvements can be achieved at an acceptable cost.
Fund raising continues
We have applied for funds to various grant making trusts and some have
already made generous contributions. We are grateful to all those
individuals who have generously supported the Appeal.
We are continuing with our programme of fund raising events and further
events are being planned.
We are delighted that we have raised sufficient funds to undertake the
first stages of the restoration work but we still need further funds to
enable us to carry out the rest of the restoration programme. You can
contribute by sending a cheque, payable to St Giles Church Shipbourne, to
the Treasurer, Martyn Williams, The Round House, Riding Lane,
Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 9QL, specifying that you would like
your contribution to be used for the restoration appeal.
Do support the parish's fund raising efforts. At the Farmers' Market you
The Shipbourne Cookery Book - on sale for £10
The Shipbourne shopping bag - the green solution to
cutting down on plastic bags
Shipbourne tea towels
The new Shipbourne Christmas card. Small cards cost
£3.50 for 10 and large cards cost £4.50 for 10. There is a 10% reduction
for purchases of 50 or more. They are on sale at the Farmers' Market.