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First World War memorial plinth in the churchyard of Leigh All Saints' Old Chancel

A Grade II Listed Building in Leigh, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6345 / 51°38'4"N

Longitude: -1.917 / 1°55'1"W

OS Eastings: 405838

OS Northings: 192856

OS Grid: SU058928

Mapcode National: GBR 3RZ.G4W

Mapcode Global: VHB34.Q5DV

Entry Name: First World War memorial plinth in the churchyard of Leigh All Saints' Old Chancel

Listing Date: 8 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1450531

Location: Leigh, Wiltshire, SN6

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Leigh

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Summary

First World War memorial plinth.

Description

The memorial stands to the north-east of Leigh All Saints’ Old Chancel (Grade II*). The original 1920s memorial plinth survives. It takes the form of a large limestone block, square on plan, with a corniced top in the Classical style.

The entablature of the cornice bears an inscription, beginning on the north-facing side, reading I WAS DEAD AND/ BEHOLD I AM ALIVE/ FOR EVERMORE. The principal dedicatory inscription on the west face of the plinth reads + TO THE PRAISE AND/ WORSHIP OF GOD & IN/ MEMORY OF THE GALLANT/ MEN FROM THIS PARISH/ WHO FELL IN THE SERVICE/ OF THEIR COUNTRY/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 – 1919/ RIP.

Five names are recorded on the south face, with three on the north face. The east face of the plinth carries the later Second World War inscription, reading WORLD WAR/ 1939 – 1945 (4 NAMES).

The top of the memorial has an empty socket, where the upper part of the memorial (the cross) had previously been fixed.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 22 November 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. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at All Saints’ Church, The Leigh, as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. It took the form of a cross on a limestone plinth. Permission had been sought from the Consistory Court in July 1920 and the war memorial was in place by 1923, when it appears on the Ordnance Survey 1:2500 County Series map for Wiltshire. Following the Second World War a further inscription commemorating the local men who died in that conflict was added.

Unfortunately the limestone monument became dilapidated. A new memorial (unlisted), in the form of an open book carrying both First and Second World War dedications, was erected in its place in the early 1990s. The remaining parts of the old memorial were moved about 800m to the old churchyard of All Saints’ Old Chancel (Grade II*) (the nave of the medieval church had been moved from its original location to The Leigh in 1896, but the chancel was left behind). There they stand alongside the Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones that mark the churchyard’s military burials: two of the names on the memorial are of men who are buried in the adjacent plots.

Reasons for Listing

The First World War Memorial plinth, which stands in the churchyard of Leigh All Saints’ Old Chancel, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* a well-carved limestone plinth with good quality lettering, in the Classical style.

Group value:

* with Leigh All Saints’ Old Chancel (Grade II*-listed).

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