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St. Giles' Church Shipbourne

The ten principal topics are:


Details of services are set out below, showing whether the service is in Shipbourne Church or in Plaxtol church.

  8.00 9.30 11.00
1st Sunday of month Holy Communion
Parish Communion
Family Service
2nd Sunday of month Holy Communion
Parish Communion
3rd Sunday of month Holy Communion
Parish Communion
Family Communion
4th Sunday of month Holy Communion
Family Service
Parish Communion
5th Sunday
(when there is one)
Holy Communion
Parish Communion

Evening office
This takes place every weekday (except Friday) at 4.30pm.
This is a short service and lasts about 20 minutes.

Choral evensong
This takes place at 6pm in either Shipbourne or Plaxtol on the fifth Sunday of any month.

Ash Wednesday
Wednesday 18 March: Sung service with ashling, to mark the beginning of Lent.

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.

For 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 their parents.
There will be no Playchurch in December but Playchurch will resume in the New Year.

If you've 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 810797.

The Boomerang Club
This was formed as a club for children aged 7 to 11 years. It has closed, so there will be no further meetings of the Club, but it is being replaced by a new service, Community@4.

Rock 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

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
  Craft and play time for children
  Bring and share refreshments after the service
This will be held from 4 to 5pm on Sunday 15 February in Plaxtol Church.


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 local community.
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 Her telephone number is 01732 810439.

The Harvest Supper
This is normally held at the end of September to celebrate the harvest. All are welcome.

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 01732 364529.

News of events in the parish
Lent Course 2015
The Rector writes:
"This year, by way of change, we are going to use a study course provided by the Diocese of Rochester called Challenging Poverty. It has been designed to chime in with various national and international initiatives to make 2015 a year when issues of poverty are highlighted. The Pope has called for a "worldwide ethical mobilisation" to address the plight of the poor. Listen to God: Hear the Poor is an initiative launched by the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster last April intended to run into this year. This year a parliamentary enquiry into the growth of the need for foodbanks reports.
We shall be doing the course on Sunday evenings and Wednesday afternoons, beginning on February 22 and 25. If you are interested in coming along please be in touch with me."
The Rector may be reached at 01732 811081 or by e-mail
Quiz night
Plaxtol Memorial Hall will the the venue for the next hotly contested quiz night, on Saturday 21 March, when local teams will use their general knowledge to win the quiz. This will be another fun evening to raise money for St Giles. Further information can be obtained from Mary Perry on 01732 810797.
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 
The Harvest Supper in 2014
On Friday 26 September, we celebrated the harvest at Home Farm Barn, by kind permission of Fairlawne, and feasted on pies, crumbles and cheese. We were welcomed on arrival by Roger playing the accordion, and were entertained after supper by singing, first by the young, and then Stephen on his keyboard led some rousing singing of songs from all part of our still United Kingdom. Our thanks to all the cooks, waiters, those who dressed the barn, and those who donated food, drink and raffle prizes. And special thanks to James Sheldrick and his team for preparing the barn for the supper and to Kate Symonds and Julia Sheraton for organising the event.
St Giles Fete
The traditional St Giles Summer Fete was due to take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August 2014. However heavy rain was forecast for that day and the fete was cancelled. Saturday 4 October was set as a new date for the St Giles Autumn Fete and Barbecue. During September the weather was dry and warm but ten minutes before the fete was due to start, the rain started. It went on raining hard until an hour after the end of the fete. Nevertheless, this time the fete went ahead and the brave souls who attended enjoyed most of the stalls and attractions which had been planned for the summer fete in August, including a fancy dress competition for children with the theme "Clothing of the World War I era" and teas in the Village Hall. Many thanks go to Viv Packer and Barbara Jones for organising the fete and to all those who organised or ran stalls and to everyone who donated items for the event.

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
TN11 9PF

Maintaining the 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.
  We applied to English Heritage for Lottery funding in 2011 and again in 2012 but were not successful.
  We will seek further grants and donations from grant making trusts and individuals.
  We 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:
  We 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.
  The areas around the paths will be cut and strimmed regularly.
  In 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 working party last met on Saturday 20 September. Many thanks to all those who attended and helped with the work.
We plan to meet again in the Spring of 2015 to do further work.

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 September 2007.

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 dog.

Andrew can be contacted at:
The Rectory, The Street, Plaxtol, Kent TN15 0QG
Telephone 01732 811081 e-mail

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 congregation.

Sir Paul Britton (365794) email:
Mrs Vivienne Packer (810822) email:
PCC Secretary: Mrs Mary Perry (810797)
Children’s Representative: Glynis Coates (811432)

Church APCM
The Annual Parochial Church Meeting took place in Shipbourne Village Hall on Monday 28 April 2014. There were reports on the activities of the Church over the past year and the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 were presented for approval. A copy of the annual report and financial statements for 2013 is attached.
Downloads [PDF documents]:
PCC Annual Report and Financial Statements 2013
PCC Annual Report and Financial Statements 2012
PCC Annual Report 2011
PCC Statutory Accounts 2011
PCC Accounts Independent Examiner Report 2011

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
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.

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.

The sidesmen's rota is displayed at the back of the church.

Coffee 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, 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 statements.

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. Further information on supporting the ministry of the church can be obtained from the Treasurer, Martyn Williams, at or telephone 01732 833751.

St Giles Trust supports the St Giles Church restoration appeal

One of 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.


St. Giles Church, Shipbourne

Page last updated: 5/2/2015


Shipbourne War MemorialShipbourne War Memorial

St. Giles' ChurchyardSt. Giles' churchyard old memorial inscriptions

St. Giles' Church - Stained GlassSt. Giles' stained glass

Kent Farmers Market Farmers' Market

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St Giles' and Shipbourne NEWSLETTER now online...
Now available online



By Sir Edward Cazalet
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St Giles Shipbourne Restoration and Development Appeal

The church launched an appeal in 2007 for funds for urgent repairs, and for improvements to its facilities.


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.

The organ

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 instrument.”

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.


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.

Underpinning work
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. The cracks must be properly repaired and made good.

Exterior stonework
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.

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 expert conservators.

the floor: there are areas of the attractive marble flooring which are cracked or damaged and these need expert restoration.

metalwork: on doors, gates and windows needs re-painting.

the churchyard: some of the graves need attention.

Improved facilities

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 church.
The Fabric Sub-committee of the PCC has instructed the church's architect to investigate possibilities and draw up plans. As a first step it is proposed to
fit 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.
These proposals were announced at the morning service on Sunday 16 November and were approved by the PCC at their meeting on 19 November. Copies of the drawings for these alterations are displayed at the back of the church. An application is being made to the Diocesan Advisory Council, before the proposal is submitted for a faculty, which is required before the work can be done.

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 can buy:

  • The Shipbourne Cookery Book - on sale for 10

  • The Shipbourne shopping bag - the green solution to cutting down on plastic bags

  • Shipbourne tea towels

  • Shipbourne mugs

  • 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.


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St Giles Shipbourne Restoration Appeal

St Giles Shipbourne Restoration Appeal

St Giles Shipbourne Restoration Appeal

St Giles Shipbourne Restoration Appeal

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