Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul
There has been worship on the site of Shiplake Parish Church for more than 800 years. Today there is a thriving congregation in a united benefice with Dunsden.
The south aisle of the church and the tower, (which were originally separate), date from c1140. The nave linking the the south aisle and tower was added in the 13th Century by the Lord of the Manor, Richard Earl of Cornwall, a brother of Henry III. The earliest written evidence of the church dates from 1163 when the church was “appropriated” with its tithes for the endowment of a monastery, Missenden Abbey in Buckinghamshire. The Abbey became the Rector of Shiplake and in return, it provided a priest to minister on the Rector’s behalf. From the practice of a priest being present on someone else’s behalf, the word vicar originated.
Entry into the church is made through the Lady Chapel which was the original church. The altar is a memorial to the men of Shiplake who lost their lives in the First World War. The 19thC font is a copy of the Norman one at Iffley in Oxford.
Only one stone pillar remains in the Nave, the rest being chalk, probably dug from the quarry below the church. The stone pillar is to the west of the entrance door and its carvings date from the 13th C. The human heads are thought to represent the Abbot of Missenden, Henry III and his brother Richard. The pulpit is thought to be of Jacobean origin and came from Dorchester Dorset. It was given in memory of the second Baron Phillimore.
The reredos dates from the 1869-
The glass in the east and south east windows is mediaeval and French in origin having come from the ruined abbey of St Bertin at St Omer. The marriage register records the wedding of Alfred Tennyson to Emily Sellwood in June 1850.
The church web site may be found at http//www.shiplakedunsdenharpsden.org.uk
For information on the bells and the Shiplake Ringing Centre, please click the link below.
Bell Restoration Project: A major £98,000 project to recast the 8 bells and hang
them in a new bell-
The new bells were cast at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry in July/August 2009 and were blessed when on the floor of the Church at a special service on Sunday 11th January 2010. They were dedicated by the Bishop of Dorchester on 2nd May 2010. The new tenor bell weighs 9cwt and 15lbs and is tuned to G sharp.
The picture shows the new bells assembled in the new bell frame at the works of Whites of Appleton Church Bellhangers during a visit by donors, ringers and friends on the 14th November 2009.
For more information on bellringing on this superb new ring of bells, please contact Cyril Crouch (Tower Captain) on 940 2704 or Bob Partridge (Ringing Master) on 940 1907.