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UPTON MAGNA PARISH COUNCIL

The Church

Upton Magna church is dedicated to St. Lucy or Lucia – apparently, one of only two churches in this country dedicated to her. 

The first church building was probably a wooden or wattle and daub church and was founded at least as early as the 12th century although there is evidence that the chancel dates back to the Norman Conquest. The north wall of the chancel seems to date back to the time when nearby Haughmond Abbey was built (c. 1135).

The windows in the north wall also date from this period, although those in the east wall are probably 13th century and those in the south wall are 14th century insertions. There was some restoration in the 19th century, when the chancel arch was rebuilt and perhaps the east end of the church was also rebuilt. The roof dates from the 19th century as does the north aisle and the vestry. 

The tower was completed in 1475 and contains a good ring of six bells, the majority from the 17th century, though new bells were added in 1907 and 2007. Hand bells for the ringers were purchased in 1909 and are still rung from time to time.

The first priest mentioned as serving Upton Magna was Alardus in 1244, and, until the Reformation, the priests here were appointed by the Abbot of the Abbey of Lilleshall.

Although the stained glass is not particularly old, (being mostly Victorian), it is still beautiful. There is an interesting memorial of a recumbent figure in Elizabethan costume commemorating Walter Baxter of Haughmond who died in 1644 and Lady Ursula Owen, as well as a number of other monuments and wall plaques. The organ was restored in 1970 and is a good example of a village church organ. The church registers (most of which are now held at the County record Office in Shrewsbury) date from 1563.

Unfortunately, buildings of this great age often suffer structurally and St. Lucia's is no exception. A few years ago, a conservation architectural survey revealed that the ceiling was collapsing and extensive repairs were required both to it and the widening cracks in the medieval walls. 

A group of parishioners formed "The Friends of St. Lucia's" to raise the huge amount of money required to fund the repairs and, after working tirelessly to bid for grants from various sources, the Heritage Lottery Fund granted £204,300 which was added to the funds already received or raised by the community. This means that restoration work begins in the spring of 2019!

 

UPTON MAGNA PARISH COUNCIL The Church