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Coles Family and Winterbourne Down War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Winterbourne, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.5147 / 51°30'53"N

Longitude: -2.5046 / 2°30'16"W

OS Eastings: 365083

OS Northings: 179655

OS Grid: ST650796

Mapcode National: GBR JV.HW40

Mapcode Global: VH88H.J6S4

Entry Name: Coles Family and Winterbourne Down War Memorial

Listing Date: 17 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425483

Location: Winterbourne, South Gloucestershire, BS36

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Winterbourne

Built-Up Area: Frampton Cotterell/Winterbourn

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Winterbourne Down

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

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First World War memorial, possibly by F C Eden. It was erected in 1919 with Second World War and later additions.


First World War memorial, possibly by F C Eden. It was erected in 1919 with Second World War and later additions.

MATERIALS: of stone.

PLAN: it is square on plan.

DETAILS: the memorial faces west and takes the form of a medieval lantern cross standing upon a two-step base. The base supports a shallow plinth upon which sits an octagonal socket stone whose upper section has been worked into a deep drip moulding. A weathered relief of the badge of the East Yorkshire Regiment is carved on its west face. The shaft, which is square at the base with carved leaf decoration, tapers in octagonal section to a lantern head set above an octagonal annulet. The lantern has four faces with traceried niches containing relief sculptures; on the west face is the Crucified Christ whilst the east face contains the Madonna and Child; St George is depicted on the south face whilst the weathered sculpture on the north face is possibly St James the Less.

The dedicatory inscriptions to the Coles family members who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars are incised on the memorial's west face. The inscription extending across the north-west, west and south-west faces of the socket stone reads 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN / PIOUS MEMORY OF JAMES HUGH COLES DSO LIEUTENANT COLONEL / EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION / NEAR WYTSCHAETE BELGIUM ON 25 APRIL 1918 AGED 33 YEARS / AND GEOFFREY WILLIAM COLES / WHO DIED 27 NOVEMBER 1915 AGED 28 YEARS / NEMO SIBI NASCITUR’. Below, the west face of the plinth is inscribed 'REST ETERNAL GRANT UNTO THEM O LORD / AND LET LIGHT PERPETUAL SHINE UPON THEM'. Below again, the top step of the base is inscribed ‘THE WORLD WAR 1939 – 1945 / TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN EVER GRATEFUL MEMORY OF / FLYING OFFICER DENYS GEOFFREY GRAEME COLES RAFVR / AGED 22 YEARS / AND OF HIS CREW WHO MADE THEIR LAST FLIGHT ON 22 JAN 1941 / PILOT OFFICER VS PADGHAM SGT HD HEWITT SGT EA CASTLE’. On the bottom step of the base are the names of the local men who died during the Second World War with the inscription reading 'AND OF / BRIAN JOHN EVANS / PTE JOHN WILLIAM LLOYD / OF THE PARISH OF WINTERBOURNE DOWN / GRANT THEM THY PEACE O LORD’. The names of the local men who fought and died during the First World War are recoded alphabetically in an anticlockwise direction on the south, south-east, east and north-east faces with the north face bearing the inscription 'OF THIS PARISH / WHO GAVE THEIR / LIVES IN / THE GREAT WAR / 1914 – 1918’. On the top step of the base on the memorial's north side, a further inscription reads ‘ALSO DENYS FRANCIS PARR COLES / FATHER OF DENYS GODFREY GRAEME COLES / DIED MAY 19 1959 AGED 67 YEARS’

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 11 January 2017.


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. Along with these community monuments, private memorials were also erected, usually at the bequest of the family members of the dead. One such memorial was erected in 1919 by the Coles family of Winterbourne Down to commemorate Lieutenant Colonel James Hugh Coles, who died on 25 April 1918 during the Battle of Lys, 4th Battle of Ypres, near Wytschaete, Messines whilst leading and in command of the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, and his brother Geoffrey William Coles. Sited in All Saints churchyard, the memorial was possibly designed by F C Eden, a church architect and designer, who made unexecuted plans for a memorial chapel at the church in the same year. The memorial also records the names of the 16 men of the parish who also died during this conflict. Following the Second World War, a dedicatory inscription was added to a third family member, Flying Officer Denys Geoffrey Graeme Coles, along with those of his crew. In 1959 a further inscription was added to commemorate Denys Francis Parr Coles, the father of Denys Godfrey Graeme Coles.

Reasons for Listing

The Coles family and Winterbourne Down war memorial, dedicated c1920, with Second World War additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community and a prominent local family, and the sacrifices made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Design: as an accomplished and well-realised war memorial which takes the simple form of a medieval lantern cross;
* Intactness: it stands in its original location, remaining unaltered since it was dedicated in c1920.
dedicated in c1920.

Selected Sources

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