Coronavirus (Covid - 19) -  IMPORTANT NEWS:

Church services began on Sunday 12thJuly

Services will follow the normal weekly pattern - for details see the Services page

  • Please be ready to observe social distancing and hand sanitising, both on the way in and as you leave the building (hand gel is provided).
  • Seating will be limited to one household or ‘bubble’, or three individuals per pew, and only every other pew, so a maximum of 40. Please come ready to be guided by wardens and sidesmen.
  • The choir is allowed to sing but not the congregation.
  • At Communion, only the bread will be offered, to be received standing.
  • Please bring your own Prayer Book, if you have one, to the 8.00am service of Holy Communion.
  • Face coverings must be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.

Both our churches are also open for 

Individual private prayer and organ practice:
Shipbourne – daily except Mondays: 9am-5pm;
Plaxtol – daily: 9am-5pm.

We extend a virtual welcome to folk from the parish of Shoreham, who may be joining us via YouTube whilst their Vicar is away.

Thanks to all those who have worked hard to make this possible.

All Church Buildings were closed in March 2020 when the lockdown began. After 5 May, churches remained locked but clergy and their households were allowed to use their church for daily prayer, and the streaming and filming of worship for social media.

We continue to be the Church: a people of prayer and action.

Shipbourne Church on Facebook

You can now follow St Giles Church Shipbourne on Facebook at


Harvest Festival

There was a celebration of the Harvest at the Family Service on Sunday 20 September 2020.

In view of the lockdown restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were asked to make donations in money at the service rather than food offerings. The collection money from the family service went to Medway Foodbank, which we regularly support. You may also make a donation by bank transfer:

account name: Help in the Community

sort code: 40-52-40

account number: 00029546

Reference: Shipbourne Church


Facing the Financial Black Hole in the Church’s Finances

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant challenge to the global and national economy, it also poses a significant challenge to the economy of the national and local church.

The church relies on different sources of income: collections from services, fees from weddings and funerals, funds raised on special occasions such as the Summer Fete and the Harvest Supper. These have all ground to a halt, and there is simply no knowing when ‘normality’ will return. We may be facing a long period of time when social distancing remains the rule, and this is bound to affect our normal streams of income.

The most straightforward way to avoid the worst of these effects is to commit to regular monthly giving by standing order. If you already do this, many thanks! Amounts given are known only to the PCC Treasurers. Please use the following co-ordinates:

Account:                  St Giles’ Church
Sort code:                   09-01-51
Number:                   74188307
Ref:                                    Surname

Account:                  Plaxtol PCC
Sort Code:                  40-52-40
Number:                  00020207
Ref:                                    Surname

Another way you can help is by fundraising in lieu of the Summer Fete. Adrienne is making face-masks and inviting donations. Peter C is turning his new-found cycling into a sponsored ride and he is hoping to use the ‘Just-giving’ App to invite donations. Please think if you could make and sell cakes or jams, or chutneys or…………………………………………………………………………… The possibilities are endless, but every little will help!

Ride and Stride

Lionel Stielow went cycling around Kent to visit as many churches as he could on Saturday 12 September 2020, to raise money for St Giles Church Shipbourne and for the charity Friends of Kent Churches. If you were kind enough to sponsor Lionel, please let him have the sponsorship money, if you have not already done so.

The Friends of Kent Churches Sponsored Ride and Stride takes place on the second Saturday in September each year with 740 churches participating.  It raises over £130,000 a year for Kent churches. Half the sponsorship money raised goes straight back to the church nominated by participants and half goes to the Friends.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting took place on Monday 21 September 2020. There were presentations on the life of the church over the period since the APCM in April 2019.

Giving to St Giles - the blue envelopes   

You can use the blue envelope scheme to give to Shipbourne church. Here’s how it works.

Pick up a box of blue envelopes at the back of the church. Put your cash donation in one of the envelopes and drop it in the plate at services. If you sign up for Gift Aid on your donations, it will save you having to write down your name and address details each time you make a donation.

Blue books of envelopes for the year June 2020 to May 2021 are now at the back of the church, just inside the main door.

If you are already signed on for the scheme, take the envelopes with your serial number from the box.

If you are not a member of the scheme but would like to support the work of the church in a tax efficient way, please take a set of envelopes marked ‘NEW GIVERS’ write your details on the list above the box of envelopes against the serial number of the set you have taken and if you wish, tick the Gift Aid box.


Funeral and Burial of the late Andy Gemmell
Thursday 2nd July at Plaxtol Parish Church

Andy’s funeral is necessarily taking place under Government regulations and Church of England guidelines because of the pandemic. This means that attendance is strictly limited to family and friends by invitation only.

Margaret has asked me to publish the Order of Service on the ‘Plaxtol Parish’ Facebook group on the day, and looks forward to welcoming the wider community to a Memorial Service and Reception on Wednesday 28th October, which would have been Andy’s 77th birthday. Thank you for understanding.


Good Friday: the Rector doing our traditional walk carrying the cross between the two churches of the benefice


Coronavirus - Shipbourne Farmers' Market

The market will remain open but not as usual.

We now operate as an ON-LINE & LOCAL DELIVERY MARKET

 together with a drive through (timed) pick up.

You must order before Wednesday midday.

Orders will be delivered to SHIPBOURNE VILLAGE HALL by Producers ON  THURSDAY MORNINGS.

We have volunteers willing to deliver locally to those who cannot get out

You can find further details on the new arrangements at the market's website:

Special opportunity: Oberammergau 2022

This renowned Passion Play was due to run this year, but the whole season has been postponed till 2022 because of the pandemic. A Meopham- and Eynesford-based group with whom Donna and I will be travelling now has up to seven places available for a week’s tour with McCabe Travel beginning Wed 31st August 2022. Please contact Jan Thompson if you are interested on [email protected] 01322-683062.

Remembrance Sunday

A Remembrance Service was held at Shipbourne Church on Sunday 10 November 2019. The service began beside the War Memorial, before moving inside the church. Shazia Khan-Bourne sounded the Last Post and the Reveille and Mrs Valerie Redman read out the Roll of Honour of those from Shipbourne who lost their lives in the Great War and in the war in Afghanistan. The Rector led the service and gave the address.

Harvest Supper 2019
The Barn of the Fairlawne Home Farm was the magnificent setting on Friday 11 October for the Benefice Harvest Supper, to celebrate the Harvest Festival. Long trestle tables were decorated with squashes and apples, and straw bales provided rustic seating. Guests arrived to the sounds of English folk tunes played on various accordions.  We all sung two harvest hymns, accompanied by John Young, Nick Ward provided a quiz and the Rector acted as our Master of Ceremonies.

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 lasagne, 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.
Special thanks also go to our organisers, Kate Symonds and Andy Doughty for such a wonderful evening.

St Giles Fair 2019

The St Giles Summer Fete took place in sweltering heat on Shipbourne Green, by kind permission of the Fairlawne Estate, on Bank Holiday Monday 26 August 2019. 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. Sadly the dog show was cancelled this year because of the heat. Visitors enjoyed the various sideshows - they included face painting, lifting bricks, throwing sponges at people in the stocks - and there was a range of cakes, jams, vegetables and other produce as well as the popular book and bric a brac stalls.  The raffle was a success again. Burgers were on sale from the new  barbecue and drinks were available from the bar. Kathy and her team were offering tea and cakes in the Village Hall.

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.

A reception was held in the Village Hall on Friday 1 November to thank all those who helped with the fete.

Shipbourne 1919 - 2019: commemoration of the centenary of the signing of the treaty of Versailles over the weekend o f 29/30 June 2019

The window sills in St Giles Church were specially decorated by local organisations and gave an insight into the life of Shipbourne village in 1919.

A Commemorative Family Service took place on a sunny Sunday morning. White flowers of remembrance were left on the War Memorial to pay respects to the local young men who lost their lives in the Great War.

The service was followed by traditional games and picnics on the village Green, with adults and children taking part in egg and spoon races, a sack race, a 3 legged race and a tug of war.

Special thanks go to all the numerous people involved in organising the events over the weekend and making it a memorable and enjoyable occasion.

From War into Peace: Remembering 1919. A concert held in St Giles Church on Sunday 12 May 2019

Hal and Lara Cazalet, Georgia Ginsberg, Timothy End, Tom Humphreys and Emily Ward presented a concert of words and music on 12 May, to remember the ending of the First World War. The music included songs written by Butterworth and Denis Browne, who both died in the war, and songs written at the time by John Ireland, Ivor Gurney and Frank Bridge. Hal Cazalet led the audience in singing a medley of the songs which became popular marching songs in the First World War and then introduced some of the music Jerome Kern wrote for Broadway musicals at the time, to words written by P G Wodehouse. The readings included poetry, memoirs and letters from Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain and others. Hal Cazalet read a moving account by his great uncle, Victor Cazalet, of his experiences of life on the front line.

Proceeds from the concert go to St Giles Church Shipbourne Restoration Appeal and to the Royal British Legion.

Sir Edward Cazalet

On Sunday 10 February 2019 there was a Service of Thanksgiving at St Giles during which the choir sang a special anthem as a tribute to Sir Edward Cazalet. This was followed by a lunch to bid him farewell as our Patron of many years standing. Our new Patron, Francis Read, and the Rector thanked him in their speeches after lunch for all that he and his family had done for our village over so many years. Sir Edward in his reply recalled his family's long association with, and affection for, Fairlawne, St Giles' Church and the village.

Farmers' Market

Shipbourne Farmers' Market was the winner of the Best Farmers' Market category at the 2018 Kent Food and Drinks Awards. The Farmers' Market has also reached the finals in the Best Farmers' Market category in the Farm Retail Association Awards 2019.

The Roux's return
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr  returned to Shipbourne on Tuesday 5 June 2018 for the Roux Two dinner,  five years after their last dinner here in Shipbourne,  this time 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.

Profits made from the Roux Two Dinner were split between the following good causes:

  •   St Giles Church, Shipbourne: the restoration of the wall paintings in the church
  •   The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (R.A.B.I.), supporting farmers in England and Wales who are struggling financially
  •   Shipbourne Farmers’ Market Click and Collect project
  •   Nourish Community Foodbank