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War Memorial, Stroud

Description: War Memorial

Grade: II
Date Listed: 19 December 2013
Building ID: 1416740

OS Grid Reference: SO9147603537
OS Grid Coordinates: 391476, 203537
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7305, -2.1248

Locality: Stroud
Local Authority: Stroud District Council
County: Gloucestershire
Postcode: GL6 7NT

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Listing Text


A war memorial, incorporating two water troughs; built in 1917 or early 1918, the memorial was designed by Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960). It primarily commemorates the deaths during the First World War of Mabel Dearmer (1872-1915) and her son Christopher (1894-1915), but was also adopted to commemorate the loss of the men of the village who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Reason for Listing

The war memorial at Oakridge Lynch, designed by Alfred Hoare Powell and erected in late 1917 or early 1918, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community, in its role as the memorial to the Fallen of the village in the First and Second World Wars;
* Design interest: for its unusual form, as a water conduit and drinking troughs provided by its patron to provide safe drinking water for the village, and for its association with Alfred Powell, a recognised Arts and Crafts architect and designer who was a resident of the village;
* Historic association: with the Rev Percy Dearmer, the patron of the memorial, and his wife and son, Mabel and Christopher, for whom the memorial was originally raised;
* Group value: with the listed buildings which lie to its south, listed at Grade II.


The memorial was set up in late 1917 or early 1918, initially as a private memorial to Mabel Dearmer and her son, Christopher, both casualties of the First World War. Mabel Dearmer (1872-1915), born Jessie Mabel Pritchard, was a playwright, novelist and illustrator. During the War, Mabel, whose husband was then the chaplain to the British Red Cross Ambulance unit in Serbia, volunteered for the Serbian Relief Fund as a nursing orderly. She contracted enteric fever, and died at Kragujevatz on 11 July 1915. Christopher, their son, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserves. Educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford, Christopher was a linguist who had travelled in Germany, Russia and France, to study their languages. At the outbreak of war, Christopher returned home from France to enlist. His valuable language skills lead to his quick promotion, and he could have spent the war in a staff job, away from the front lines; instead, he chose to join troops ashore at Sulva Bay, in Gallipoli, where a stray shell landed in his tent ten days into his campaign. He was taken aboard the hospital ship HMS Gloucester, but died of his wounds on 6 October 1915.

The structure was erected by Mabel’s husband and Christopher’s father, Rev Dr Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), priest, liturgist and historian of Christian worship, who is best known for his work The Parson’s Handbook (1899, editions to 1931), which advocated a return to the native English tradition in liturgy and ceremonial. Dearmer was also largely responsible for editing the English Hymnal in 1906, on which he worked with composers such as Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and which resulted in a revolution in congregational singing. Percy and Mabel’s elder son, Geoffrey (1893-1996) was a celebrated poet, and was one of the last of the First World War poets to survive.

The memorial was commissioned by Dearmer from another Oakridge resident, Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960), architect, designer and painter of pottery, who was a significant figure in the Cotswolds Arts and Crafts movement. In an act which combined commemoration and philanthropy, Dearmer endowed the memorial, which incorporated a drinking fountain to provide a reliable source of clean drinking water for the village; it was pumped, at his expense, to the top of the settlement from the valley below, and fed by gravity into the fountain and troughs of the memorial. The work was carried out by men of the village, using locally-quarried stone. The site chosen was on a green at the village centre, just opposite the house in which the Dearmers lived; they had taken it over from Powell, who had previously restored it. The memorial was dedicated in late 1917 or early 1918, some months before the end of the First World War, and was formally opened by Lord Beauchamp, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and college friend of Mabel and Percy Dearmer. At the ceremony of dedication, the roll of honour of all the Fallen from the war was passed around; it was resolved to include them on the memorial, and so, after the end of the conflict, a plaque was added to commemorate all the men of the village who had lost their lives. After 1945, another plaque was added in remembrance of the Fallen of the Second World War.


A war memorial, incorporating two water troughs; built in 1917, the memorial was designed by Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960). It primarily commemorates the deaths of Mabel Dearmer (1872-1915) and her son Christopher (1894-1915), but was also adopted to commemorate the loss of the men of the village who died in the First and Second World Wars.

MATERIALS: local limestone, with metal plaques.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial takes the form of a conduit flanked by two water troughs, which are sheltered by walls to the rear and sides, with flat coping stones. To the centre, the tall, square column carries a brass tap for drinking, and is mounted with three plaques. The upper one is inscribed with the names, ranks regiments and services of the Fallen from the Second World War, seven in total. The middle plaque is inscribed: IN MEMORY OF MABEL DEARMER / WHO WENT FROM OAKRIDGE THE PLACE SHE LOVED BEST / TO GIVE HELP IN SERBIA WHERE SHE DIED OF FEVER / AT KRAGUJEVATZ ON JULY 11TH. 1915 AGED 43, AND OF / CHRISTOPHER DEARMER / WHO DIED OF WOUNDS AT SULVA BAY IN GALLIPOLI / ON OCTOBER 6TH. 1915 AGED 21 / PROUD OF THE WAR ALL GLORIOUS WENT THE SON. / LOATHING THE WAR ALL MOURNFUL WENT THE MOTHER. / EACH HAD THE SAME WAGE WHEN THE DAY WAS DONE. / TELL ME WAS EITHER BRAVER THAN THE OTHER. / THEY SLEPT IN MIRE WHO WENT SO COMELY EVER / THEN WHEN YOU WASH LET THE THOUGHT OF THEM ABIDE. / THEY KNEW THE PARCHING THIRST OF WOUNDS & FEVER. / HERE WHEN YOU DRINK REMEMBER THEM WHO DIED. The lower plaque is inscribed: THESE OAKRIDGE MEN / ALSO GAVE THEIR LIVES. Below are the names of the Fallen from the First World War – twenty-one in number.

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