We are a friendly congregation at St James, Shipton and welcome visitors to visit our church, which is always open, or to join us at our services. We hold a Eucharist service on the third Sunday of every month, sometimes in a traditional language version and sometimes in modern language, and a more informal family service on the first Sunday of the month, as well as a harvest service in the autumn. We share a Carol Service and Christmas and Easter Day services with our neighbours in Stanton Long, holding the service at Shipton one year and at Stanton Long the next year.
We work well as a team to keep the church and the churchyard in good condition and to raise money to pay our bills. There is an annual porch stall at Much Wenlock and, in June, a tennis tournament followed by a lunch at Shipton Hall. There are other events too – last year, for example, we had a supper and very interesting talk about international art theft and recovery.
The church is well worth a visit. It is a beautiful, peaceful place and full of historical interest. The church was originally a chapel attached to the Priory at Much Wenlock. There is a deed that mentions the parish in 1110; the chancel arch is 12th century and a blocked north door, a blocked window on the south of the nave and a plain font bowl may be of the same age. The Crown took over the church when Much Wenlock Priory was dissolved in 1540. A series of lords of the manor owned the tithes and patronage of the church until it passed in the early 1570s to John Lutwyche, youngest son of a local landowner, and the man who was responsible for the building of neighbouring Shipton Hall. John Lutwyche rebuilt the chancel of the church in 1589 – look out for his commemorative plaque and for his east window patriotically depicting the arms of Queen Elizabeth I, newly victorious over the Spanish Armada.
Among other features to look out for are the memorial plaque to Lawrence and Anne Ludlowe and their seventeen children - Lawrence lived at the Morehouse in the early 1500s; the blocked doorway high on the left hand side of the nave, next to the chancel, which indicates the position of Shipton’s pre-Reformation rood loft; the tablet erected in 1995 by the American Mayflower Society to the four children of the More family who were sent to America on the Mayflower in 1620, in disgrace because of a family scandal, and the tombs and monuments to the Myttons, John Lutwyche’s heirs - John himself died heavily in debt and left Shipton to his nephew Edward on condition that Edward paid off his debts.
Free leaflets in the church give more details of the church’s history and there are booklets about the tragedy of the More children for sale at £1.50.
The church is lovely at all times of year, but perhaps especially in February when the churchyard is full of snowdrops and aconites.
We hope you will visit us!