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Fairford War Memorial, Fairford

Description: Fairford War Memorial

Grade: II
Date Listed: 25 July 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1410136

OS Grid Reference: SP1519201165
OS Grid Coordinates: 415192, 201165
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7090, -1.7815

Locality: Fairford
Local Authority: Cotswold District Council
County: Gloucestershire
Country: England
Postcode: GL7 4DJ

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Explore more of the area around Fairford, Gloucestershire at Explore Britain.

Listing Text


A First World War memorial, dating from 1919, designed by Ernest Gimson.

Reason for Listing

The war memorial at Fairford is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community;
* Architectural interest: for the quality of the design and craftsmanship of this sombre and dignified memorial, and its inscriptions, and its association with Ernest Gimson, a recognised architect and designer;
* Group value: with the listed buildings which form its setting, in particular the Church of St Mary (Grade I) and the numerous churchyard monuments listed at Grade II.


The war memorial at Fairford was funded by public subscription, led by the Fairford War Memorial Committee. It was erected in 1919 by Messrs Farmer Brothers under the supervision of the architect Norman Jewson, to plans by his friend and colleague, the architect and designer Ernest Gimson, who was terminally ill at the time he designed the memorial, and died soon after its construction was completed. During the 1930s the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described Gimson as “the greatest of the English artist-craftsmen”. Greatly influenced by the design work of William Morris (1834 - 1896) Gimson joined the firm of John Dando Sedding. He thus came into contact with progressive exponents of the Arts and Crafts movement, in which he and his colleagues, the Barnsley brothers, were to become important figures. In 1892 Ernest Gimson, together with Sidney Barnsley and his brother Ernest, resolved to move to the country, and settled in the Cotswolds, first at Ewen near Cirencester, and later at nearby Pinbury Park. They set up their own craft workshops, first at Pinbury but later and more permanently at Daneway House in Sapperton, where the medieval and C17 manor provided suitable inspiration and showroom space for their furnishings, which were designed in a style which revived rural crafts and forms and began an Arts and Crafts movement in the Cotswolds in the period. The memorial, which was originally planned to be sited in the Market Place in Fairford, was instead set up in the churchyard at St Mary's Church, off the High Street. It was unveiled on 21 October 1920 in a ceremony during which it was dedicated by the Bishop of Gloucester. It commemorated the 34 men of the parish who had lost their lives in the course of World War One. Following World War Two, the names of the 11 men who had died in that conflict were added to the memorial.


MATERIALS: the whole structure is constructed from local limestone.

PLAN: the memorial is set on an octagonal plinth approximately 2m wide and 1m high.

DESCRIPTION: the war memorial is approximately 5.9m in height. It takes the form of a cross contained in a lozenge-shaped, coped head, set on a tapering octagonal column which terminates in an octagonal base with moulded fields. The cross contained within the coped head, which is partly weathered, is carved to resemble the branches of a tree, perhaps symbolising the Tree of Life, with the three upper arms of the cross taking the form of multiple smaller branches, with foliage. The tapering octagonal column terminates in an octagonal base. Carved into the sides of the base is the legend: IN THE MEMORY OF THE MEN OF FAIRFORD WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES SERVING IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918. Below are moulded fields into which are carved the names of the Fallen - 34 in total - giving their initials and surnames. The base sits on a wide octagonal plinth, its facets carrying moulded fields. The octagonal plinth is topped by a moulded, overhanging cap. Moulded fields run around the plinth, and in one is carved the names of the eleven Fallen from the Second World War. Above their initials and surnames is the legend: ALSO 1939 - 1945.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.