Changing lives for Jesus


St John the Baptist, Shiphay, is not an ancient church as Shiphay was originally part of the St Marychurch parish. However, in the mid-1880s the squire of Shiphay, William Henry Kitson, decided that educational facilities in Shiphay needed to be improved. He decided to provide a chapel/school that would serve the village children during the week and could be used as a chapel on Sundays.

He appointed architects and the building was swiftly built and was opened in August 1896. This saved the parishioners from the walk to and from St Marychurch. Ministers from the mother church conducted the services and arrived at the venue via pony and trap. The use of the chapel as a school ended in 1924. The Kitson family continued to own the building until 1928 when they gave it to St Marychurch.

Use of the chapel continued until after WW2 when new housing estates were built in Shiphay. The consequent increase in population caused people to think that Shiphay could become an independent parish. The congregation must have presented a good case as independence was granted. It was necessary to close the church for a time while major extensions were undertaken. The updated building was dedicated in 1956.

The building modifications included construction of a new side entrance, Warden's Vestry, bell tower, choir vestry, Lady Chapel and the main entrance. The stained glass window of St John is modern.

More information is available at the Reference Library in Torquay.