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St John's War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in St John's, Surrey

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3113 / 51°18'40"N

Longitude: -0.5932 / 0°35'35"W

OS Eastings: 498149

OS Northings: 157848

OS Grid: SU981578

Mapcode National: GBR FBK.LW4

Mapcode Global: VHFV7.N9RM

Entry Name: St John's War Memorial

Listing Date: 22 May 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425790

Location: Woking, Surrey, GU21

County: Surrey

District: Woking

Electoral Ward/Division: St John's

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Woking

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Woking St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

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Summary

St John's war memorial, unveiled on 25 September 1921, located in St John's village.

Description

The memorial is situated on a slightly elevated mound within the churchyard of the church of St John the Baptist.

The war memorial stands about 7m high and comprises a Portland stone Celtic-style wheel cross on a four-sided shaft which becomes circular towards its base. The east face of the shaft is decorated with Celtic tracery and the Sword of Sacrifice in relief and around the lower circular part is a Celtic-style inscription which reads: DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI.

The shaft is set on a two-stage square plinth in turn set on a four-stepped octagonal base. The inscription on the east face of the top plinth reads: TO THE/ GLORY OF GOD/AND IN MEMORY/ OF THE MEN/ OF THIS PARISH/ WHO GAVE THEIR/ LIVES IN THE/ GREAT WAR/1914-1918.

On the lower plinth the inscription reads: GREATER LOVE/ HATH NO MAN THAN THIS/ THAT A MAN/ LAY DOWN/ HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.

The other three faces of the plinth are inscribed with the names of 106 men of the parish of St John’s who lost their lives in the war.


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, 6 December 2016.

History

The memorial commemorates those of the parish of St John’s who gave their lives in the First World War. It was created by Farmer and Brindley (their names inscribed at the base of the plinth), a firm of decorative craftsmen and church furnishers providing architectural sculpture under contract, founded by William Farmer and William Brindley. They were based at Westminster Bridge Road, London and the firm was active from 1851 to 1929. They provided decorative sculpture for many of the most important architects; their major contracts included work on Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Albert Memorial, London, and Alfred Waterhouse’s Natural History Museum, London, and Town Hall, Manchester.

The special interest of the memorial is further enhanced by the words on the shaft ‘Dulce et Decorum est...’ which is the title of a poem written by Wilfred Owen during the war and published posthumously in 1920. The Latin title is taken from the ‘Odes’ by the Roman poet Horace and means ‘it is sweet and honourable to die for one's country’. The inscription on the lower plinth 'Greater love hath no man than this...' is an extract from the bible: John, chapter 15, verse 13.

The memorial was unveiled on 25 September 1921 by Major General C E Corkran CB CMG (1872-1939) and was dedicated by the Bishop of Guildford, John Hugh Granville Randolph (1866-1936). Charles Corkran was a commanding officer of a battalion of the Grenadier Guards in the First World War becoming commanding officer of the Grenadier Guards Regiment at the time of the unveiling.

The memorial was cleaned and restored in 1992 by Woking Borough Council.

Reasons for Listing

St John's War Memorial, unveiled on 25 September 1921, 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, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Design: as an elegant and highly decorated Portland Stone celtic-style memorial;
* Designer: created by Farmer and Brindley, a firm of decorative craftsmen providing architectural sculpture for many of the most important architects including work on Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Albert Memorial, London, and Alfred Waterhouse’s Natural History Museum, London, and Town Hall, Manchester.

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