Shipley takes its name from a Saxon word meaning 'the place of pasture'. It is the second largest parish in Sussex with an area just under 8000 acres and is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1087. William de Braose, a powerful supporter of William the Conqueror, was given the manor of Shipley and 40 other manors, including Knepp where he built the original castle, soon after the Battle of Hastings. He and his son participated in the Crusades and were great benefactors of the church. The son passed the estates at Shipley to his nephew, whose brother, Dean of Lincoln, gave them to the Knights Templar.
On approaching the church, the first impression is of height, the nave walls seem to tower above you!
Shipley church is on of the oldest Norman churches in Sussex. It dates from the 12th century, contemporary with Chichester Cathedral, and was built by the Knights Templar on the site of a much earlier church.
The wooden south porch is 14th century, and the mediaeval bollard (on the right in this photo) was probably removed from the river basin below the church where barges arriving from Shoreham by the River Adur would tie up at Shipley.
The church was restored in 1830, when the pyramidal shingled spire had to be removed due to its poor state of repair. At the same time two galleries were removed and a north porch of timber and stone, also dating from the 14th century, was removed and remains detached in the churchyard today.
Here are the east window of the north aisle, installed in 1984 and commemorating the first 50 years of the local boy scout troop, and the font.
The present north aisle is as rebuilt in 1893 when the vestry was added, its roof was restored in 1979. The plain door piercing the south west buttress of the tower, shown below, was presumably to allow independent access to the east end of the church for the Templars, who may have used the tower space as their choir. Nothing remains of the Templar's priory building, although occasional mediaeval artefacts are found when graves are dug, as well as Oyster shells, pointing to former habitation of the site.
Extensive repairs to the internal fabric of the tower were completed in 1983/4 to strengthen the roof timbers and floor joists. Since then the four principle tie beams spanning the nave have been renovated, a central heating system installed and the east window (below) has been restored.
The stained glass windows were largely given in memory of members of the Burrell family. Six of then are by C.E.Kempe.
The window in the south wall shows Shipley windmill with its original cap of brown burnt tiles. The windows are shown here in anticlockwise order around the church, starting on the south wall.
Here are two views of the interior of the church - the first looking east, the second west, showing the two bracket organ cases each side of the chancel and the two arches supporting the mass of the tower above.
From the mid 15th century, when Nicholas Caryll first settled at Bentons, the Carylls were the principal family in the village. Several generations later Nicholas' descendent, Sir Edward, acquired Knepp and his son, Sir Thomas Caryll, and family are commemorated in the 1616 alabaster monument in the chancel (below). The last Carll (John Baptist) sold Knepp to a London banker in 1754 to pay his debts. The estate then changed hands a few more times and was eventually bought in 1788 for £18,900 by Sir Charles Raymond. His daughter Sophia inherited with her sister whose share Sophia bought. Sophia's husband was Sir William Burrell, the celebrated antiquarian, and the estate has remained in the Burrell family ever since.
This final view is of the west end of the church as seen from the road.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
If you would like to purchase any of the images featured here or commission others of this church, please click here.
If you found this page using a search engine or other link, please use the icons below to link to one of the main sections of the Roughwood web site:
Please do not reproduce or store any of the pictures on this site without asking first.