BerkshireSHAWCUMDONNINGTONStMary(simonburchellCC-BY-SA4.0)1 SimonBurchell

St Mary

A beautiful Victorian church with a stunning chancel designed by the renowned architect William Butterfield (who designed Keble College, Oxford) under the initiative of the rector John Horatio Nelson, nephew of Admiral Nelson.

Shaw cum Donnigton, Berkshire

Opening times

Covid19 : Morning service at 10am, open church for private prayer: Wednesdays 10am to 12noon.

[Normally open : Tuesday to Friday 9am to 2pm, or by arrangement.]


Church Road
Shaw cum Donnigton
RG14 2DR

According to local legend, the present church of St Mary's Shaw cum Donnington came to replace a Saxon church building after it's rector Rev Sloecock, fed up with the cold draughts inside, spotted a newly purpose-build church of his liking while holidaying on the Isle of Wright and decided to blow up the current the structure. The nave was consecrated in 1842, and 45 years later, under Rev John Horatio Nelson, nephew of Admiral Nelson, a rather spectacular chapel was added, designed by the famous Victorian architect William Butterfield in the Oxford, or Trectarian, style, featuring beautiful murals telling the story of the New Testament. William Butterfield, who became renowned for designing Keble College in Oxford, also designed the local Church School.

St Mary's Shaw cum Donnington is located in the former grounds of Shaw House, an impressive Jacobean mansion once occupied by the Dolman family and the Duke of Chandos, and the house, now owned by West Berkshire Council, can be visited throughout holidays and on the weekends in conjunction with the church. There is a cafe and a souvenir shop in Shaw House which also sells a historical guide to the church.

Other parts of the original Shaw House estate are a beautiful local park either side of the river Lambourne opposite the church, which makes a lovely place for a stroll and a picnic, offering a beautiful view onto the church spire from across the river and through the trees. The church congregation currently conducts a natural history study of the flora and fauna surrounding the church as well as a social history study of its parishioners throughout time; please inquire for further information if interested.

  • Wildlife haven

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Wifi

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Ramp or level access available on request

  • Non-accessible toilets in church

  • Dog friendly

  • Church shop or souvenirs

  • Car park at church

  • Café within 500m

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • 8am and 10am Sunday services, occasional Evensong at 5pm.

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Nicholas

Newbury, Berkshire

It seems odd to us, in an age where it is accepted that the super rich spend all their money on themselves, that it was not at all unusual for wealthy medieval people to spend some of their own fortunes on such things as churches.

St George the Martyr

Newbury, Berkshire

St George’s is one of only two churches in England designed by FC Eden, an authority on Italian art and architecture.