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Berkswich War Memorial including enclosure

A Grade II Listed Building in Stafford, Staffordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.7907 / 52°47'26"N

Longitude: -2.0841 / 2°5'2"W

OS Eastings: 394423

OS Northings: 321464

OS Grid: SJ944214

Mapcode National: GBR 28H.1WL

Mapcode Global: WHBF0.Y3QW

Entry Name: Berkswich War Memorial including enclosure

Listing Date: 30 October 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1421955

Location: Stafford, Staffordshire, ST17

County: Staffordshire

District: Stafford

Electoral Ward/Division: Weeping Cross & Wildwood

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Stafford

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Berkswich Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Summary

First World War memorial, dedicated in 1920, with Second World War additions. It was designed by a Mr Evans of the Wayside Cross Society and executed by Robert Bridgeman and Sons of Lichfield. In the early 1990s it was re-sited and rededicated.


Description

First World War memorial, dedicated in 1920, with Second World War additions. It was designed by a Mr Evans of the Wayside Cross Society and executed by Robert Bridgeman and Sons of Lichfield. In the early 1990s it was re-sited and rededicated.

MATERIALS: of Alton stone.

PLAN: it is octagonal on plan.

DESCRIPTION: the war memorial takes the form of a medieval wayside cross standing upon an octagonal base of three steps. The base supports an octagonal plinth with gableted faces with incised crosses to the north-west, north-east, south-west and south-east sides. Each face of the plinth has a recessed panel with all but the north-east and south-west faces containing bronze plaques bearing inscriptions in relief. The plaque on the north-west face contains the First World War dedication and reads: 'IN PIOUS AND / IMMORTAL MEMORY / OF THOSE FROM THE / PARISH OF BERKSWICH / WHOSE NAMES ARE / COMMEMORATED HERE / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES / FOR KING AND COUNTRY / AND FOR THE CAUSE OF / LIBERTY AND RIGHT / IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1919'. Below the inscription, and to the plaques on the north and west faces, are the names of those who died during this conflict with their rank. The risers to the top step are inscribed in an anti-clockwise direction from the north-east side to the south-west side with the phrase: 'THEIR / NAME / LIVETH / FOR / EVERMORE' whilst the north-west riser to the second step is inscribed: 'TELL ENGLAND-YE WHO PASS THIS MONUMENT / THAT WE WHO DIED SERVING HER, REST CONTENT'. The south-west face of the plinth contains the dedication plaque to those who died in the Second World War and reads: 'ALSO IN / IMMORTAL / MEMORY / OF THOSE / WHO GAVE / THEIR LIVES / IN THE / SECOND / GREAT WAR / 1939-1945'. The plaques on the south and east faces bear the names of those who fell during this conflict. Above the plinth, the shaft has a moulded base and tapers in octagonal section to an octagonal band with ogee-arched niches. Above is a moulded knop on which stands a Latin cross with fleur-de-lis shaped terminals at the end of each arm. On its north-west face is a sword carved in relief.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the memorial stands within in a circular-shaped enclosure with walls of rock-faced sandstone topped with sandstone coping. The walling stands to a height of two courses on the south, south-east and east sides and of three courses elsewhere due to the fall in ground slope. On the north-east side there is an entrance with two stone steps. The enclosure, which is laid with stone paving, contributes to the special interest of the war memorial and is included in the listing.

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, 19 January 2017.

History

The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. One such memorial was erected in 1920 at Berkswich in Staffordshire, to commemorate the 24 men of the parish who died during the conflict, along with one woman, Marjorie Gibson, a VAD nurse. Funded by public subscription, the memorial was executed by the sculptors Robert Bridgeman & Sons of Lichfield and designed by a Mr Evans of the Wayside Cross Society. In order to appeal to a wider public than could be reached by memorials in churchyards, the Wayside Cross Society, which was founded in 1917, campaigned for the erection of new crosses along the roadsides of Britain. Although the society dissolved in 1919 due to lack of public support, the parishioners of Berkswich nonetheless raised a memorial cross on a traffic island at Weeping Cross, at the junction between the roads from Lichfield to Stafford and Birmingham to Stafford. It was dedicated on the 1st November 1920 by the Bishop of Lichfield. Following the Second World War a further 12 names were added to commemorate the men who died during this conflict. In the early 1990s the memorial was moved a short distance to the north-east to facilitate improvements to the neighbouring road junction and rededicated by the Bishop of Lichfield.

Reasons for Listing

Berkswich war memorial, dedicated in 1920 and executed by Robert Bridgeman and Sons of Lichfield, with Second World War additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of a world events on this community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Design: as an accomplished and well-realised war memorial which takes the form of a wayside cross.

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