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St Mary, Upton Grey

OS Grid Ref: SU 697 483 Postcode: RG25 2RB CoE CHR No: 641133

St Mary's Church, Upton Grey Photo 1 - St Mary's Church, Upton Grey.

The church is situated to the north of the village centre, close to where the Roman road from Chichester to Silchester ran through the parish. It sits on a rise above the road and is surrounded by its churchyard. A church is recorded at Upton Grey in the 1086 Domesday. It is built of local Malmstone. The present church is an unusually shaped building, with a short early Norman nave and tall narrow Norman arch dated to approx. 1120.

Generally, most early graffiti in churches is found in the more public areas of a church. A survey of the exterior of the church revealed several pairs of initials carved into the brickwork of the west and north wall of the north aisle. These were carved mainly in the area around the west window and going northwards to the NW corner. (Photo 2 below)

Initials carved into brickwork of the west wall Photo 2 - Exterior west wall. Initials T.C, G.C, S.C, A.M.

Entry to the church is through the C13th south doorway. There are several graffiti marks around the doorway on both the blocks and mouldings. Passing through the south door to the inner door jambs and surrounds there are two areas of graffiti of particular interest. There is a large pentagram and butterfly shape on a block on the inner west side. (Photo 3 below)

South Doorway: pentagram & butterfly graffiti. Photo 3

The chancel and certainly the sanctuary were the more private areas of the church and there is usually less graffiti here than in the more public areas hitherto described, ie the porch, the nave, and around the font. The chancel doorway west side has a finely cut baptismal cross with other less well-defined baptismal crosses below. (Photo 4 below)

Baptismal Cross on west side of Chancel Doorway. Photo 4

The font quatrefoil faces are covered in lines crisscrossing the stone. Between the S and SE faces are 3 crosses. Each cross is enclosed and they sit one above the other facing the south doorway. (Photo 5 below)

Crosses on the font. Photo 5

The bell tower, in particular the ringing chamber, is rich in C20th graffiti including names, initials and dates, written in pencil on the clock’s wooden casing. These include N.Brasing, D.Childs 1936, F.Sims 1939, W.W 1936, Keith Lewis Corder, GW 1970, VP 1966, S.Stacey 1945, W.Fox 1950, I.Chipping 1948. Such C20th graffiti can provide a valuable resource for local history and family researchers.

See further images and read the fuller pdf report.

Survey date: 28th March 2022.

Surveyors: The team consisted Karen Parker, Helen Banham, Karen Wardley