| CHURCH OF THE BLESSED MARY
It is not known precisely when this church was built, but the Domesday Survey records two churches in the Manor of Bishops Waltham, of which one is thought to be Upham. In 1132 it was referred to as an “ecclesia” (“church”) in the Charter of the Hospital of St Cross, Winchester, and again in 1284 in the Letters Patent of the Prior and Convent of St Swithun. The first known Rector of Upham was Robert de Borghaise in 1304, and we have a continuous list of his successors down to the present day, which can be seen on the wall to the right of the font.
In 1598, which is as far back as the records of Upham go the church was described as having a squat tower, a nave, a chancel and a south aisle. The original tower was rebuilt in 1700, of red and blue chequer brick, and in Victorian times the church was extensively restored and the north aisle added, the latter being completed in 1881. The moving spirit behind this was the incumbent, the Reverend R. S. Gubbins and the architect was G. E. Street.
When the north wall of the church was demolished three early 13th
century arches were uncovered, and one of them was re-used and the east
end of the new aisle by the organ loft. Mr Gubbin’s daughter, writing in
1914, recalled the days before the restoration when Upham church had high
pews, a three-decker pulpit, two large galleries and a grind organ with
three cylinders of hymn tunes. The present organ was installed in memory
of the Reverend Gubbins, who died in 1884, and it was renovated in 1981 by
Mr R. Boston of Owslebury.
The two windows in the north aisle and the one at the west end of the south aisle, in the choir vestry, are by Kempe, circa 1895 and 1892 respectively.
During the Civil War, in the year 1642, Cromwell's soldiers stabled their
horses in Upham Church, and there is an entry in the churchwarden's
accounts of a sum of money being paid for cleaning the church after "use"
by horses. A later churchwarden, when Cromwell's regime ended, added the
letters "ab" in front of the "use", thus making it clear whose side he was
on! During this period, the then Rector, Myrth Wayferer, was removed, and
Mathew Stocke, described as an intruder, was installed. In due course he
disappeared, and Myrth Wayferer was restored in 1663. This can be seen on
the list of rectors, as can the name of Edward Young, sometime Prebendary
and Dean of Salisbury and Chaplain to King William and Queen Mary. His
son, also Edward, who was to become a well-known poet in his day, was born
at Upham Rectory and christened in Upham church on 3rd July, 1683.
Virtually forgotten today, he was honoured as "a great man" by Dr.
Johnson, and his satires were said to rival those of Alexander Pope. His
best known work was "Night Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality", from
which comes the well known line “procrastination is the thief of time". He
was educated at Winchester College.