Shipton under Wychwood
A little bit about us
Address: Church Street, Shipton under Wychwood, Chipping Norton, OX7 6BP
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.
Update on St Mary’s Shipton-u-Wychwood February 2020
We have had full investigations of the roofs of the church. The central nave roof and south aisle roof both require significant work, and the central nave roof continues to be supported by scaffolding until we have raised funds to make it safe. Our current plan is to prioritise work on the central nave roof, then move on to the south aisle roof as funds permit, then our third stage will be to carry out planned work on heating, toilets, servery and flooring.
To carry out these works will require significant sums of money. Our preliminary costings lead us to suspect we will need around £905,000 – or £1,000 per year of Shipton church’s life to date! We are planning a series of events to help raise funds, and the “Friends of St Mary’s” are a core part of accomplishing that; the Friends will also be assisting by coordinating applications to grant-awarding bodies.
If you can help with fundraising or donations in any way, please do get in touch with us. We would also very much welcome any assistance anyone can offer with maintenance of this beautiful but elderly and large church building, from weeding and gully clearing to oiling external woodwork – or holding a ladder!
We are fortunate to have one of the finest robed choirs in West Oxfordshire. Bernard West is the choir master and organist. The choir consists of approximately 25 voices which includes 9 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 Exeter, Worcester and Salisbury Cathedrals.
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 recently carried out significant work to repair and improve the bells and tower, and the peal was rededicated by Bishop Colin on 9th June 2019.
Parish Safeguarding Officer
Liz Watts 01993 831759
Elaine Russell-Jarvie 01993 831610
Need to talk?
Contact Childline anytime – calls are free and confidential
Call 0800 1111
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.
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.
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.