Father Jim Lupton’s family proudly displays Roger Lupton’s coat of arms at the grave of Christopher Lupton who settled on the Outer Banks in the 1700s. The family of Kate Middleton, future bride of Britain’s Prince William, displays the same arms. This shared link to the British royal lineage is one source of Jim’s fascination with British royal history and his call to write historical fiction.
Jim Lupton was born in Washington’s Tayloe Hospital but raised in Belhaven in the 1930s. His great uncle and namesake, James Lupton, was Belhaven’s first mayor. Jim thrived in the rough and tumble small town life but at age 15 entered Augusta Military Academy, a Virginia prep school.
English constitutional history was Jim’s choice of study at Duke University where his intent was to become a lawyer. However, in his junior year, he took an elective course on the history of world architecture which led to a summer in Europe studying Roman ruins and gothic cathedrals. Jim recalls, “My first Sunday in England was in Canterbury where worship in the ancient cathedral touched my soul in a deep mysterious moment.” A conversion experience led to his dilemma of continuing in architecture or the priesthood. After his Duke graduation, Jim entered architectural school at the University of Pennsylvania.
While in school, Jim met and married Eliza Jarman, set up housekeeping and soon had a son. Following graduation, Jim worked for architecture firms in Raleigh, Atlanta, and Columbia, South Carolina. Two more sons followed and Jim opened a private architecture practice.
While serving as youth leader in his church during the 1960’s Vietnam War era, the military father of three of Jim’s teenage charges was killed in the war. Jim ”began to ask deep religious questions and sought counsel at St. Gregory’s Abbey, an Episcopal Benedictine Monastery in Three Rivers, Michigan.”
After buying a 50-acre farm near the monastery, Jim moved his family to Michigan in a quest for peace and ecology. He opened an architectural practice on his farm and supplemented his income by teaching at a local community college. His family thrived on the isolated farm. Jim again experienced the call and studied theology at Notre Dame before entering the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.
In 1986, Jim became an ordained priest and served parishes in Texas and Arkansas until returning to Belhaven in 1997. Jim continues serving as Priest in Charge at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Lake Landing, near Engelhard and routinely at St. James Episcopal Church in Belhaven.
Devastated with the loss of his wife in 1999, Jim began to write historical fiction. His novel Pilgrimage of Grace is the story of Roger Lupton (1456-1540), a distant ancestor and royal confidant. The novel paints fictional scenes based on historical facts of Roger’s 84-year life.
Jim relates, “Born in an isolated medieval village in Yorkshire, Roger Lupton earned a degree in canon law from Cambridge… was appointed canon of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and chaplain to King Henry VII… elected provost of Eton College and held that job until retirement… He and the king were friends and Roger was appointed executor of Henry VII’s will. Roger was also a friend of Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort… Roger was chaplain at Henry VIII’s coronation and promoted to Clerk of Hanaper… In the last years of Roger’s life, royal divorce and religious upheaval tore England apart and generated a violent rebellion across Yorkshire, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, from which my book title comes.”
Because of length, the novel is in two books: Turbulent Youth and Perilous Power. The first was published in 2010 and the second “went to press this week,” Jim relates.
I’ve read portions of Jim’s first book. It’s a fascinating web of narrative, dialogue, and royal intrigue as Jim weaves personality and life into historical characters. His knowledge of historical detail is evident and allows Jim’s imagination wide latitude in relating royal events.
Now back to Kate Middleton. When she marries Prince William, the current Queen Elizabeth II will decide what title to bestow on the Prince and her title will reflect that honor. When the present queen dies, Prince Charles will become King and Prince William will fall in the direct line to be King. So, maybe someday, Kate will become Queen Catherine (her legal name). This has little to do with Jim except they both claim Roger Lupton as ancestor.
Please view Jim’s book website at http://pilgrimageofgrace.com and read an excerpt from his second book on the PWG website at http://pamlicowritersroup.org. His book is available online and in local book shops.