Shipton under Wychwood

Image of St Mary the Virgin, Shipton under Wychhwod

A little bit about us

Address: Church Street, Shipton under Wychwood, Chipping Norton, OX7 6BP

The church is currently open but is secured with scaffolding. See here:

Update on St Mary’s Shipton-u-Wychwood June 2019

The scaffolding is now in place to enable a full investigation of the roof issues to address. Ceiling braces are also now in place to support known weak points and the bells were able to be rung again formally when Bishop Colin visited on 9th June to rededicate the peal of bells following their refurbishment. A display about the roof problems and current intentions for enhancing the church are now in the church. At this stage we do not know what kind of sum will need to be raised, but do take a few moments to look at the display and give us your comments and consider making a donation (there are Gift Aid forms in the church). We are actively progressing the “Friends of St Mary’s” as a Charitable body – more on this in coming weeks. The full details can be found here: Shipton Church Update

In 2015 we celebrated the 900th anniversary of a church in Shipton. This is the largest of the churches in the benefice and full of life and activity.

St Mary’s is a broad church congregation embracing a range of services, from Book of Common Prayer to Common Worship – said services, sung services, all-age services & separate children’s activities all take place each month.

Church Choir
We are fortunate to have one of the finest robed choirs in the Cotswolds. Bernard West, a Cambridge Music scholar, is the choir master and organist. The choir consists of approximately 20 voices which includes 8 young people. It supports the worship at the main service each week, in the Anglican choral tradition. The choir also sings further afield, including singing the services for a weekend at a cathedral once a year: recent trips have included Llandaff, Lichfield and Salisbury Cathedrals.

Bell Ringing
The bell tower has 8 working bells, some of them dating back several centuries. We are fortunate to have 9 bell ringers registered to the tower who ring for most principal services. The church is currently fund-raising to repair and improve the bells and tower. To find out more about the fundraising project and different ways to donate towards it please email [email protected]



Joint Privacy Notice Milton – Shipton July 2018

Shipton Safeguarding Policy

Contact numbers:

Parish Safeguarding Officer

Liz Watts 01993 831759

[email protected]


Children’s Advocate

Elaine Russell-Jarvie 01993 831610

[email protected]


Need to talk?

Contact Childline anytime – calls are free and confidential

Call 0800 1111


Family Lives

Free and confidential helpline for support

0800 800 2222

Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service (previously known as Parentline)  providing information, advice, guidance and support on any aspect of parenting and family life, including bullying. Open 9am to 9pm, Monday – Friday, 10am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday.




Our Services

Every First Sunday of the month
11am United Benefice Service with Holy Communion with children and youth groups

Every Second and Fourth Sunday of the month
8.15am BCP Holy Communion

Every Second and Fourth Sunday of the month
11am BCP Morning Prayer
alternates bi-monthly with
11am Holy Communion

See the calendar on the homepage for details of up and coming services.


Some of our News

Shipton Church Fete 2018 – Date for your diary
The Shipton Church Fete will be held on the village green and in St Mary’s church from 1-4pm on Bank Holiday Monday 27th August. It will be a fun family day for grandparents, parents and children to enjoy themselves.

On the village green there will be stalls and games to appeal to all ages. For the hungry there will be burgers and hotdogs from the barbeque and a bar selling beer, Pimms and soft drinks for the thirsty. There will be stalls such as the white elephant, books, jigsaws and cakes. To add to the fun there will be hoopla, Aunt Sally, tombola, other games and the jousting horse. There will also be stalls from external exhibiters.

Inside the church we will provide tea and delicious cakes. On offer will be tours of the fascinating bell tower. There will be a special free musical programme.

Donations of books, bric-a-brac (in good condition) and jigsaws would be welcome. We look forward to welcoming everyone from our local communities to enjoy a traditional village church fete.

Other information about St Mary the Virgin

St Mary the Virgin is a large and ancient building with a rich history. The parish church of Shipton almost certainly started life as an Anglo-Saxon minster. The church is first mentioned in 1115 in a charter ‘Pro Cancellaris Sarum’ when Henry I permitted the church of Shipton, together with certain lands, to form a ‘prebend’ or income with which to maintain a canon at Salisbury Cathedral. The prebend stall for ‘Shipton’ can still be seen in the quire at Salisbury Cathedral and the Old Prebendal House adjoins the churchyard. Until the middle of the 19th century, St Mary the Virgin was the ‘mother’ church of a large parish which included the villages and hamlets of Milton-under-Wychwood, Leafield, Langley, Ramsden and Lyneham. It is now one of four churches within the Wychwood Benefice, along with St Simon and St Jude, Milton-under-Wychwood, St John in Fifield and St Nicholas, Idbury.

The present church is mainly early 13th century. The tower, spire and door are thought to have been started around 1200 although there is Norman work in the tower and the north aisle where the square pier bases are earlier than the pillars they support. The tower is octagonal with four large pinnacles and dormer windows at the base, similar to others in Oxfordshire including Christ Church Cathedral. A fine peal of eight bells, the earliest founded in 1614, resides in the tower and these are rung for Sunday services as well as weddings by a dedicated local team of ringers.

The pre-reformation drum-shaped pulpit is carved from a single block of stone with carved corbel heads, probably representing the four evangelists. The font was given in about 1450 by a relative of Warwick the Kingmaker and it features his arms – a bear and ragged staff – amongst its eight carvings.

The church was restored in 1857 when, overseen by GE Street, the pulpit was moved, the chancel screen removed, the floor raised and tiled and new pews installed. As embodied in its architecture and artefacts, St Mary’s is a tolerant collection from different times and tastes, reflecting the broadness of its congregations.