Memorial to the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.
Reason for Listing
The Waterloo memorial at Romsey Abbey is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: an early instance of a war memorial, public in character though erected by a private individual, commemorating a pivotal event in British and European history;
* Design interest: a late-Georgian public monument of simple but handsome Neoclassical design.
The monument was set up in or shortly after 1815 in commemoration of Wellington's recent victory at Waterloo. The identity of the 'young architect' who erected it is not known.
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on 18 June 1815 between Napoleon's armée du Nord and a coalition army of British, Dutch and German troops commanded by the Duke of Wellington, along with a smaller Prussian army under Gebhard von Blücher. Nearly 200,000 troops took part, and there were over 70,000 casualties. Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo marked the end of his 'Hundred Days' of return from exile on Elba, the definitive conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars and the beginning of a century of British dominance in Europe. Contemporary British memorials to the battle range from the 150-foot Waterloo Tower near Ancrum in the Scottish Borders to the rough stone obelisk at Great Torrington, Devon. However, the practice of erecting war memorials (as opposed to monuments to leading officers) did not become widespread until the Crimean War of 1853-6.
The monument stands within Romsey churchyard, to the south of the Abbey church. It is of limestone ashlar, and comprises a square base and three battered stages separated by flat abaci. The topmost stage is surmounted by an urn or vase with lobed ornament and grotesque heads. The lowest stage bears an inset marble plaque inscribed: 'THIS COLUMN WAS ERECTED / BY A YOUNG ARCHITECT / OF THIS TOWN / IN COMMEMORATION / OF THE VICTORIOUS BATTLE OF / WATERLOO / IN WHICH BRITISH VALOUR / WAS TRIUMPHANT / AND SECURED / TO THE CONTENDING POWERS / OF EUROPE / TRANQUILLITY AND PEACE / JUNE 18TH 1815'.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.