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Wagoners' Memorial

A Grade I Listed Building in Sledmere, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.0698 / 54°4'11"N

Longitude: -0.5819 / 0°34'54"W

OS Eastings: 492898

OS Northings: 464690

OS Grid: SE928646

Mapcode National: GBR SPCC.TV

Mapcode Global: WHGCX.1Y5X

Entry Name: Wagoners' Memorial

Listing Date: 20 September 1966

Last Amended: 18 February 2016

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1161354

English Heritage Legacy ID: 167861

Location: Sledmere, East Riding of Yorkshire, YO25

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Sledmere

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Sledmere St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York

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Summary

War memorial, erected 1919-20 to the designs of Sir Mark Sykes, 6th Baronet, built by Alfred Barr (mason), Thomas Scott (foreman) and Carlo Magnoni (sculptor).

Description

War memorial, erected 1919-20 to the designs of Sir Mark Sykes, 6th Baronet, built by Alfred Barr (mason), Thomas Scott (foreman) and Carlo Magnoni (sculptor).

Materials: Ashlar Portland stone, with carved stone effigies.

The Wagoners' Memorial is situated on the western side of Sledmere village, a little to north of the gateway to the Church of St Mary. The memorial stands 6m high and is raised on an octagonal plinth of five steps, with a chamfered base and top step, and is surrounded by octagonal stone paving. It consists of a squat central carved drum beneath a conical canopy with carved fish scale slates and surmounted by a pinnacle that once fitted with a cross. An entablature is supported by four elaborately carved columns, each decorated with a different geometric pattern, with capitals that have intertwined foliate and floral designs with farm animal heads at the corners. The entablature has a square patterned cornice with octagonal finials crowned by a coronet rising above each of the columns and an inscription on the frieze that reads:

'LT. COL: SIR MARK SYKES. BART: M.P. DESIGNED THIS MONUMENT AND SET IT UP AS A REMEMBRANCE OF THE GALLANT SERVICES RENDERED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919 / BY THE WAGGONER'S RESERVE A CORPS OF 1000 DRIVERS RAISED BY HIM ON THE YORKSHIRE WOLD FARMS IN THE YEAR 1912 / THOMAS SCOTT FOREMAN. CARLO MAGNONI SCULPTOR. ALFRED BARR MASON'.

The carved central drum is divided horizontally into three sections by stone bands. The three sections have detailed scenes carved in relief depicting Captain Sykes of the Army Service Corps enrolling the men with an inscription that reads: CAPTAIN SYKES / OF THE A.S.C. / ATTESTED / ONE THOU. / AND FARM / HANDS / BETWEEN / MARTIMAS; a wagoner driving a load of sacks; a depiction of the course of the annual wagon driving competition with an inscription that reads: THIS WAS THE COURSE OF THE ANNUAL COMPETITION HELD IN FIMBER FIELD; the reservists working the harvest fields; receiving call-up papers from a postman; saying farewell to family; walking to join the colours; joining the colours and being kitted-out, troop transport ships crossing a mined English Channel; disembarkation in France; German soldiers committing atrocities; a British Tommy confronting German infantrymen and the wagoners loading artillery shells and small arms ammunition while under bombardment on the road to Amiens and the Battle of the Marne. In addition a five verse poem about the wagoners composed in local dialect by Sir Mark Sykes is also inscribed on the central drum in a freehand script; this is set within a curvilinear panel, each verse separated by an engaged column decorated with a different geometric and foliate pattern. The poem reads:

I THESE STEANS A / NOBLE TALE DO TELL / ON WHAT MEN DID / WHEN WAR BEFELL / AND IN THAT ‘FOURTEEN’ / HARVEST TIDE / THE CALL FOR LADS WENT / FAR AND WIDE / TO HELP TO SAVE / THE WORLD FRO’ WRONG / TO SHIELD THE WEAK / AND BIND THE STRONG

II WHEN FROM THESE WOLDS / XII HUNDRED MEN / CAME FORTH FRO FIELD / AND FOLD AND PEN / TO STAND AGAINST THE / LAW OF MIGHT / TO LABOUR AND TO DEE / FOR RIGHT / AND TO SAVE THE / WORLD FRO’ WRONG / TO SHIELD THE WEAK / AND BIND THE STRONG

III THESE SIMPLE LADS / KNEW NOWT OF WAR / GOD’S OWN LAW / WHICH SATAN’S WILL / CONTROLS MUST FALL / UNLESS MEN THEN DID / HEED THE CALL / TO GAN TO SAVE THE / WORLD FRO’ WRONG / TO SHIELD THE WEAK / TO BIND THE STRONG

IV ERE BRITAIN’S HOSTS / WERE RAISED OR PLANNED / THE LADS WHAE JOINED / THIS HOMELY BAND / TO NORMANDY HAD / PASSED O’ER SEA / WHERE SOME WERE MAIMED AND SOME DID DEE / AND ALL TO SAVE THE WORLD FRO’ WRONG / TO SHIELD THE WEAK / AND BIND THE STRONG

V GOOD LADS AND GAME / OUR RIDING’S PRIDE / THESE STEANS ARE SET / BY THIS ROADSIDE / THIS TALE YOUR CHILDREN’S / BAIRNS TO TELL / ON WHAT YE DID / WHEN WAR BEFELL / TO HELP TO SAVE THEIR / WORLD FROM WRONG / TO SHIELD THE WEAK/ AND BIND THE STRONG

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 1 February 2017.

History

The Sykes family were originally merchants from the West Riding of Yorkshire; they moved to Sledmere in the early C18, buying up large areas of land to create the Sledmere Estates, where they introduced new efficient farming methods and developed horse breeding stables. Sir Mark Sykes was born in 1879, the only son of Sir Tatton Sykes, 5th Baronet. Sykes was an imaginative, intelligent and artistic man with a strong sense of duty, who took a keen interest in politics and the Middle East. While at University in Cambridge he obtained a commission in a volunteer battalion of the Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment and saw service in the Boer War.

On his return he served in his local volunteer battalion - 5th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, becoming the Commanding Officer in 1911; he also became the MP for Central Hull in the same year. On 11th November (Martinmas) 1912, he began to raise the Wagoners Reserve from the men working at farms across the Yorkshire Wold and he continued to do so until 1914. On the death of his father in 1913, Sir Mark Sykes became the 6th Baronet and took over the running of the Sledmere Estate.

The 1,127 men of the Wagoners Reserve Corps received their call-up papers at the outset of the First World War and were sent to units of the Army Service Corps and the Royal Engineers with no military training prior to being sent to France. A number of the men, having gained two year's service, then went on to join front-line units later in the war. The men of the Wagoners Reserve undertook, in all weathers and conditions, the essential but un-glamorous and hazardous work of hauling a range of supplies, food, ammunition, and equipment to the trench systems and forward supply depots every day of the war. Sir Mark Sykes took great pride in the men of the Wagoners Reserve and in 1918 decided to design a monument with a central pillar with carved scenes depicting the history of the Corps, in a similar manner to that of Trajan’s Column in Rome. The memorial was carved by the Italian anarchist Carlo Domenico Magnoni, a sculptor and marble cutter who assisted the well known sculptor Henry Charles Fehr.

Sir Mark Sykes died on 16th February 1919, before the completion of the monument. He contracted pneumonia as a result of Spanish flu outbreak while attending the Paris Peace Conference. He attended the conference as the British expert on the Middle East and was a party to drawing up the Sykes–Picot Agreement in 1916, which determined the boundaries of countries and the spheres of colonial influence in the post-war Middle East. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Ivor Maxse, KGB, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, at a ceremony on 5th September 1920, with a guard of honour formed by a detachment of the 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (Territorial Army) with buglers, and attended by in excess of 2,000 people.

Reasons for Listing

The Wagoners' Memorial, Sledmere is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Design interest: a most remarkably original illustrative war memorial of considerable honesty and bluntness that has no romantic notions of glory, and illustrates Lt. Col. Sir Mark Sykes’ pride in the story of the local farm workers who left their homes to go to war;
* Sculptural interest: the series of sculptures by Carlo Domenico Magnoni tell the story of the Corps in a striking and vivid manner, and are carved in a deliberately naïve-style, that none-the-less illustrates acute attention to detail;
* Association: Lt. Col. Mark Sykes, 6th Baronet, MP was a British expert on the Middle East and was party to drawing up the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916;
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Group value: the memorial stands in a prominent place within the wider context of Sledmere village and benefits from a strong spatial group value with the adjacent Grade II, II* and I listed buildings, including the Eleanor Cross, the Church of Saint Mary, and Sledmere House.

Selected Sources

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