Snowdrops at Shipton Church

Snowdrops at Shipton Church

It’s that time of year again to get out and find snowdrops. I had visited the Church of St James at Shipton in Shropshire before, so I knew the snowdrops there would be plentiful for my visit a few weeks ago. Shipton Church can be found adjacent to the B4378, just 6.5 miles South-East of Much Wenlock.

The snowdrops at Shipton Church.
The snowdrops at Shipton Church.

St James’ Church at Shipton has been in existence since at least 1100, although it has been added to and restored over time. The chancel arch dates from the 12th century, whilst the tower was added around 1200. By 1553, the chancel was recorded as being in “great ruin”, so it was demolished and rebuilt in 1589. The mediaeval floor tiles in the naive may be from the old chancel. Other additions and restorations have been done throughout the centuries, including a general restoration in the 1950s.

St James' Church, Shipton.
St James’ Church, Shipton.
Snowdrops in Shipton churchyard.
Snowdrops in the churchyard.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Whilst snowdrops surround the church in February, Shipton is perhaps best known for the story of Shropshire’s Mayflower children. The More children of Shipton were used as pawns in their parents’ relationship and sadly three of them paid with their lives while one’s life would never be the same again.

In an arranged marriage to consolidate two estates, Samuel More married his cousin Katharine in 1611. The marriage did not go smoothly and Katharine was accused of adultery with local yeoman farmer, Jacob Blakeway. By the time of the birth of Samuel and Katharine’s fourth child in 1616, Samuel had concluded that none of the children were his and that they looked too much like Jacob Blakeway. Samuel and Katharine separated in April 1616. Samuel sued Katharine for judicial separation and was given control of the children. What happened next was an act of revenge!

Inside St James' Church, Shipton, Shropshire.
Inside St James’ Church, Shipton.

Inside St James' Church, Shipton.

Floor tiles in Shipton Church, Shropshire.
Floor tiles in Shipton Church, Shropshire.

Inside St James' Church, Shipton.

Samuel paid for the four children’s passage on the Mayflower to America, each being allocated a guardian. The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England on 16th September 1620. The journey across the Atlantic was not an easy one and severe illnesses claimed the lives of nearly half of the passengers. Jasper and Ellen died on board the Mayflower, with Mary dying soon after landing. Only Richard survived.

A stained glass window at Shipton Church.
A stained glass window at Shipton Church.

A window at Shipton Church.

A stained glass window at Shipton Church.

A stained glass window at Shipton Church.

Richard More might have lost his parents, his siblings and the only life he knew at a young age, but he was a determined soul. Richard had a successful career as a captain, trader and privateer. Although, records show he may have had a wife on both sides of the Atlantic!

A tablet commemorating the four More children of Shipton.
A tablet commemorating the four More children of Shipton.

A tablet commemorating the four More children was erected in Shipton Church in 1996 and paid for by The American Mayflower Society.

The churchyard at St James' Church, Shipton.

Read more about Shropshire’s Mayflower Children.

33 comments

  1. Oh, I cannot wait for our snowdrops to bloom!
    Someone planted a few bulbs sometime in the past, and now they come up all over our yard.
    Then the grape hyacinth come up afterward, and I’m going to add trout lilies to the mix this year.
    Lovely images!

  2. Dee says:

    Beautiful photos and I loved reading about the history.

    Snowdrops? Spring must have found you. Ours are just little shoots so far. No flowers yet.

  3. And here was me thinking that the snowdrop display at National Trust Stourhead was good this year. This display knocks that into a cocked hat!

    We do have a couple of similar age churches close by, Warminster and Bradford-on- Avon, Wiltshire and I am surprised at the number of people who visit every year, so this is obviously a very popular pastime.

    Having family who make stained glass windows for churches and cathedrals, that is always the first thing I notice and those in this church are lovely!

    Nice to be able to get out and about again, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Nikki says:

      As we ventured into the churchyard a gentleman was just finishing his visit and stopped to walk. As we were leaving we noticed another couple wandering around the chuchyard. Snowdrops are very popular.

  4. Ann says:

    How charming are those snowdrops, and Shipton church looks absolutely stunning. It’s going straight on our itinerary for our visit to Shropshire in June! xxx

  5. Kris P says:

    I do love seeing masses of snowdrops in bloom! They don’t grow in my climate and I’ve never seen them in person.

    Samuel More’s treatment of his legal dependent children was certainly unconscionable. Greed and malicious disregard for others seem to combine all too frequently.

  6. Kelly says:

    What an interesting story!! I’m not really into genealogy, but my cousin who is has told me we have a line that goes back to the Mayflower. (not that I care to join the Mayflower Society!)

    The snowdrops are so pretty. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in person.

  7. Jo says:

    What a sad story of the More children. It’s a beautiful church with so much history, and the snowdrops in the churchyard are a sight to behold.

  8. LL Cool Joe says:

    We have loads of snowdrops in our front garden. They seem to be spreading further every year, and some of our daffodils are out too. A real sign that Spring is on the way.

    Lovely photos, as always.

  9. jeanie says:

    The story of the Mayflower children is so sad — I’d never heard that before. The church is just lovely and those snowdrops just take my breath away. We don’t see many of these here and I don’t know why.

  10. Angie says:

    What a fascinating story about the Mayflower children! I am amazed by the mass of snowdrops in this churchyard. A beautiful Spring sight!

  11. Along with bluebells snowdrops have to be one of my favourite flowers, this is a amazing display, beautiful.
    Such an amazing church, I visited once many, many moons ago and was struck by how lovely it was, its history fascinating. I don’t however recall hearing tell of the Mayflower Children but then it was a long time ago.

  12. Such a sad story of the Mayflower children, I hadn’t heard that one before. The church is beautifully simple and the stained glass windows are gorgeous. In your first picture the two windows and door on the right make that part look like a face 🙂

Leave a Reply to Eastside Cats Blog Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.