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St Peter's and St Paul's

Shiplake ChurchOur church serves the worshipping needs of a thriving and friendly community, drawn from Shiplake and the surrounding areas. 

All newcomers and visitors are warmly welcome. 


All-Age Family Service
Choral Evensong
Sung Eucharist & Sunday School
Five o'Clock Slot
Family Eucharist
Lay-led Services

Shiplake Sunday Club
for Children

House groups
for small groups of about 8-10 people

Revd Robert S Thewsey
Shiplake and Dunsden with Harpsden cum Bolney
The Rectory, Church Lane, Shiplake, Oxfordshire – 0118 9403484

Times of services and other information are on the Church website

Church Services Available Online


The church buildings are currently closed, but there are daily services online on YouTube.

Details here

Article created / last edited: 3 April 2020

Candlelit Nativity 2019

Candlelit Nativity 2019 

The church at Shiplake was filled with bells - jingle bells - as the donkey arrived with Mary, followed by the shepherds and wise men in candlelit procession. The innkeeper, however, wasn’t happy! She lost count of the number of times she was woken by visitors, although she fell asleep again incredibly quickly, snoring loudly while the nativity tableau gathered with the animals. Two wonderful nativities were enjoyed by over 150 people, with carols, laughter then mulled wine and mince pies around a brazier. 
Click on photo to enlarge

As Christ comes among us at our nativity in church, we remember the reason for Christmas and thank everyone who made it such a wonderful event. A diary date for 2020: second Saturday in December, Shiplake Church. 

In the meanwhile, the wise men are still travelling and will arrive at The Epiphany, a special service at Harpsden Church on Sunday 5th January 2020. Everyone welcome (we will be using incense at this service).

Article created / last edited: 20 December 2019

Benefice Fellowship 2020


The Fellowship groups meet at The Ark, behind Shiplake Church on a monthly basis. This provides an opportunity to meet people and make friends. It’s a rolling three monthly programme; each event has it’s own name - ‘Boys Brunch’. ’Tea, Light bite and Coffee (TLC)’ and ‘Join the Tea Set'.

Full details

Article created / last edited: 6 January 2020



Do you know that we have a beautiful 11th Century Parish Church in Shiplake with a fascinating history? Its attributes include wonderful mediaeval stained glass windows purchased in 1828 from an Abbey in St Omer in France. 

An illustrated brochure has been prepared describing its history, artefacts, monuments and its evolution from mediaeval times to the present day.

Copies, price £3, are available by the font at the south door of the church, or from Tim Woods Ballard 0118 940 1342, 29 Baskerville Lane, Lower Shiplake RG9 3JY.

Article created / last edited: 10 March 2019

An Appeal from the Rectory


Dear friends

Our church buildings here in this benefice are all beautiful, and are very  loved by our local community. Shiplake and Harpsden Churches are both Grade II listed which shows their importance to the local history. I am not too sure why Dunsden is not listed as it is a magnificent example of a simple Victorian Church with lots of lovely details.

Both Shiplake and Harpsden churches are open as a village asset every day, with Dunsden being open at weekends during the Summer months, for anybody to come along and have a moment of quiet. However, at present it is only the regular congregation who bear the maintenance costs for these lovely sites. Contrary to popular belief, we, as a local church, receive no income from the government – the only help we can get is that we may reclaim the VAT on some repairs to the fabric of the building.

Each of our churches are inspected once every five years – this is called a Quinquennial Inspection, and is carried out by an architect. This report gives the Church a list of what maintenance tasks need to be undertaken, and then kindly prioritises them over a five-year period. This list can sometimes be very daunting for our congregations as upkeep on these lovely old buildings is something like the painting of the Forth Rail Bridge.

In line with many churches around the country our regular congregation give money to the church on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis, and we have just adopted the ‘Parish Giving Scheme’ across all three churches to help with this task, as the ‘Parish Giving Scheme’ claims back the Gift Aid on our behalf (currently 25p for every pound). This generosity pays for the ministry and mission of the church, but leaves very little to put towards the necessary buildings maintenance programme.

We are aware that many villagers support the churches, and that the buildings mean a tremendous amount to local people, and those who have moved away. Local people support the church and wish for it to be available for when they might need it. For example at a family wedding, funeral, baptism, School service, concert, Christmas and Easter. So on behalf of our congregation members I extend an invitation to all our local people to express their support for the church financially - even a very small amount is greatly appreciated. I would encourage you to give on a regular basis, and if you are a tax payer then to use the ‘Parish Giving Scheme’. Please do look at the following website which explains how the system works: www.parishgivingscheme.org.uk/for-donors/ and if you would like to sign up to this scheme then please contact either myself for Shiplake and Dunsden at robert.thewsey@btinternet.com or for Harpsden please contact paulandmarybarrett@tiscali.co.uk

From my own point of view I find it slightly and sadly ironic that we all now pay an insurance company to protect us from the historic ‘Chancel Tax’ when moving house, when a similar amount given regularly to the local church would contribute directly to the upkeep of what are certainly the oldest buildings in our local communities.

I hope, and pray, that you will feel able to support the church financially so that we can all ensure that these magnificent buildings are maintained in good order for future generations to enjoy and cherish.

With all Gods Blessings


Article created / last edited: 19 February 2019