The services normally held each month are set out below, showing whether each service is in Shipbourne Church or in Plaxtol church. Details of any special services which alter this monthly pattern are also set out below.
Every weekday at 8.00am Morning Prayer will be said at Plaxtol and every weekday evening (except Friday and Saturday) at 4.30pm Evening Prayer will be said at St Giles Shipbourne.
Sunday 29 July
10.30am: Benefice Open Air Praise at Shipbourne
Weddings, baptisms and funerals
Please contact the Rector, Rev Peter Hayler, at RectorSwP @gmail.com if you would like to discuss having a wedding in Shipbourne church or if you would like to discuss a baptism, funeral or memorial service.
Playchurch will take place on Thursday 26 July in Plaxtol Church, starting at 10.30am.
If you've got young children, it would be great to see you there. For more details, call Mary Perry on 01732 810797 or Carol Crossley on 01732 810801.
Suitable for all ages
This is a joint benefice service and is held once a month in Plaxtol Church from 4 to 5pm on a Sunday. The next [email protected] will take place at 4pm on Sunday 15 July.
What else we do for the parish:
For more information ring Bob Taylor 01732 833976
St Giles and Shipbourne Newsletter
The Harvest Supper
St Giles Fete
See below for a report on last year's fete.
Our link with All Saints' Chatham
If you can help in any of these ways, or you would just like more information, please contact Carole Howlett at [email protected] or on 01732 811430 or Helen Leach at [email protected] or on 01732 811144.
News of events in the parish
Appointment of Reverend Doctor Peter Hayler as Rector of Shipbourne with Plaxtol. Reverend Peter Hayler was installed as Rector of the joint benefice of Shipbourne with Plaxtol at a service in St Giles Shipbourne on 6 May 2017.
Peter provided profiles of himself and Donna:
"Peter was born in Nottingham and grew up as a chorister on a traditional diet of chanted Matins and Evensong. A keen musician, he learnt to play the violin from the age of six, spending many years playing in youth orchestras. He studied chemistry at Royal Holloway College and went on to work for Astra Pharmaceuticals in London, while experiencing the renewal of his faith as a member of St James the Less, Bethnal Green.
Donna grew up near Esher in Surrey, and worked for the Church Missionary Society in London before moving to Yorkshire as a member of the Scargill House Community.
Peter and Donna met in college in Blackheath as they trained to be Church Army evangelists. They were married in 1992 and have two children who have recently flown the nest: Oliver (22) and Nat (18). Their work for the church took them first to Cambridge and then on to South Wales (1995- 2009), during which time Peter was ordained and served as Curate and Team Vicar in Magor, Monmouthshire, before returning to Cambridge.
During his twenty four years in ministry, Peter has served many years as a chaplain; first pioneering a chaplaincy to the high tech companies of the Cambridge Science Park, then in traditional manufacturing and the local voluntary sector, latterly bringing his experience and the insights of industrial mission to the developing 'Chaplaincy to University Staff' in Cambridge.
His recent work has focused on the multi-faith aspects of the complex University community, together with issues of staff wellbeing, while also having a full share of the liturgical work as Associate Vicar at Great St Mary's Church. The challenges of this work caused him to take on the Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology as a way of deepening his pastoral engagement with reflective practice.
While in Wales, Donna re-trained in Counselling and Psychotherapy, completing her Master's, practising in the voluntary, public and private sectors, and teaching to Diploma level. Although no longer practising, Donna continues to use her skills in the area of creative spirituality and spiritual direction.
Together Peter and Donna have a miniature Schnauzer, Alfie. They enjoy walking, fresh coffee and caravanning, and are looking forward very much to getting to know Kent better."
St Giles Summer Fete 2017
In sweltering heat, the St Giles Summer Fete took place on Shipbourne Green, by kind permission of the Fairlawne Estate, on Bank Holiday Monday 28 August 2017. Mr James Swartz of Fairlawne welcomed visitors and opened the fete. The Tonbridge and Sevenoaks Training Band played a variety of great music throughout the afternoon and the popular dog show made a welcome return. There were some brilliant costumes on show in the children's fancy dress competition. Visitors enjoyed the various sideshows and produce and other stalls. Lunch was available from a barbecue and tea and cakes were on offer in the Village Hall. The afternoon finished with the Grand Draw and prize giving. The fete raised approximately £4,600 for St Giles.
Warmest thanks to all the numerous people who helped with energy and enthusiasm in running the stalls, setting up or clearing away, or who contributed prizes or produce, and in particular to Lindsay Miles and Viv Packer who organised the fete and made it such a successful day.
Harvest Supper 2017
Our thanks to the Fairlawne Estate for generously allowing us the the use of the barn; to James Sheldrick and his team for clearing and setting up the barn with tables and straw bales for us to sit on; to all those who provided shepherd's pies, apple crumbles and salads, and apple juice; to the many people who set up on the day, helped with the serving and clearing up afterwards and helped with the bar. Particular thanks for the generosity of local businesses and individuals who donated prizes for our raffle. A little over £1,400 was raised for the Benefice.
Christian Aid week
Thank you to everyone who supported Christian Aid week in May 2017, and in particular to Sally Bryden who organised the collection. We raised well over £500 for this year's campaign to support refugees.
Christmas craft fair
The Roux's return
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr returned to Shipbourne on Tuesday 5 June 2018 for the Roux Two dinner, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Shipbourne Farmers' Market. This black tie event started with a champagne reception in the Church Room of the Chaser Inn, followed by dinner in a marquee in the garden.
All profits made from the Roux Two Dinner will be split between the following good causes:
Enquiries to [email protected]
Maintaining the fabric of our church: our restoration appeal
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.
Management of the churchyard
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 group for observing wildlife and wild flowers.
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.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who met on Saturday 21 April to work on the churchyard. We made good progress in clearing vegetation from around the base of the church, cleaning the steps down to the crypt and removing ivy from the churchyard walls and clearing around the tops of some of the graves. The next working party will be in the Autumn of 2018. Please join us then!
How we are organised
The annual report and the financial statements for 2016 and earlier years are attached.
Cleaning the church
History of our church
How do we manage the church's finances?
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. Cheques should be made payable to "St Giles' Church, Shipbourne". Further information on supporting the ministry of the church can be obtained from the Treasurer, Martyn Williams, at [email protected] 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.
Page last updated: 4/6/2018
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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.
WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED SO FAR?
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
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 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.
In 2017 the three notable table tombs in the churchyard were carefully restored.
The north west porch
The iron gates at the entrance to the porch have been stripped, re-painted and re-mounted in position.
The lych gate
Extensive restoration work was undertaken in March 2018 on the handsome lych gate at the entrance to the churchyard. In particular, a new hard wood base plate has been inserted at ground level on each side of the lych gate, replacing the original timber which had become badly decayed.
WHAT ARE WE RAISING MONEY FOR NOW?
Sir Paul Britton, Churchwarden has written about our plans for restoring the wall paintings in the chancel.
The Cazalets rebuilt St Giles’ church in 1881. The old church of the 1720s was too small and had become dilapidated. The Cazalets spent a lot of money on their new church, not just on the structure but also on the furnishings and decoration. Most of this was provided by a German firm, Mayer of Munich. Mayer’s covered the whole of the interior of the chancel with stencilled wall paintings, mostly of foliage and architectural decoration but including also the Commandments and the Creed. These have now become very dirty and faded. They have suffered badly from damp and from water damage caused by leaks in the chancel roof in the past. In their present state they rather let the interior of the church down. But they are important because much Victorian wall-painting was lost in the last century when it was deeply unfashionable and was often painted over: not many large-scale schemes like that at St Giles’ survive. The aim, if sufficient funds can be raised, is therefore to clean and conserve the paintings, including repainting those areas where there has been paint-loss. This will return the interior of the church, which is largely unaltered, to the splendour of 1881.
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.
Exterior stonework: there are areas in poor condition, particularly on parts of the tower, the stair turret and the eastern gables. The damaged stones need to be replaced or repaired by a stonemason. Some re-pointing is needed. Much of the work is at a high level and will require scaffolding, which will be expensive.
External metalwork: some re-decoration is needed
Windows: stonework and glass repairs
Wooden blocks on the floor of the nave: the loose blocks need to be cleaned and re-fixed securely
Lightning protection system: the system has recently been improved
Walls surrounding the churchyard: some repairs and re-pointing is required
Underpinning work: the cracks in the walls of the Lady Vane Chapel (the south transept) indicate that there has been some subsidence. These have been observed over the last ten years and advice has been provided by a structural engineer and the church's architect. Following advice by the Diocesan Advisory Council, the PCC decided not to underpin the walls, but a crack monitoring system was re-introduced in November 2015 on the advice of the church's architect and civil engineer.
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 church's architect was asked to investigate possibilities and draw up plans. The first two projects were completed in March 2015. They were 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.
Plans have been drawn up to install a small servery at the rear of the church, to provide facilities for serving hot drinks, and to provide a WC in the churchyard. Further work is being carried out to establish whether these improvements can be achieved at an acceptable cost.
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:
+ click images to enlarge
+ click images to enlarge