A timber and stone war memorial c.1920.
Reason for Listing
The war memorial Swithland Cross, Main Street, Swithland, Charnwood, Leicestershire, unveiled in 1921, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: the memorial has special historic interest commemorating those members of the community who died in the two World Wars and other subsequent conflicts.
* Architectural interest: the memorial is a simple but architecturally distinct form, constructed of the local stone and slate.
* Group value: it has group value with three other listed buildings that are nearby.
The concept of commemorating war dead did not develop to any great extent until towards the end of the C19. Prior to then memorials were rare and were mainly dedicated to individual officers, or sometimes regiments. The first large-scale erection of war memorials dedicated to the ordinary soldier followed the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, which was the first major war following reforms to the British Army that led to regiments being recruited from local communities and with volunteer soldiers. However, it was the aftermath of the First World War that was the great age of memorial building, both as a result of the huge impact that the great loss of British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.
The Swithland war memorial was erected at the end of the First World War to commemorate those from the village who had died serving their country. It is not known who designed or built the memorial, but the 7th Earl of Lanesborough who lived at Swithland Hall gifted the land to the village for the erection of both the village hall and the war memorial. The memorial was unveiled on 4th December 1921 by the Leicester-born MP Robert Gee, who had received the Victoria Cross during the war.
A war memorial of c1920 constructed of Swithland stone and timber, which is square on plan.
The monument is in the form of a timber, Celtic cross, which is mounted upon a square stone pedestal, with a plain capping of Swithland slate. There is a rectangular plaque of Swithland slate on the front of the pedestal, which is inscribed with a dedication to the fallen which reads; TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN GRATEFUL MEMORY/ OF/ (NAMES)/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ IN THE GREAT WARS/ 1914-1918/ 1939-1945.
The monument and pedestal stand upon a five tiered stone plinth, paved with Swithland slate. There are plain iron railings around the plinth.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.