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National Collection of Sir Herbert Baker’s War Memorials Recognised

  • Historic England commemorates 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with 15 new and upgraded listings of war memorials by one of the Commission's principal architects, Sir Herbert Baker
  • The largest known private war memorial in Europe, The War Cloister at Winchester College has been upgraded to Grade I
  • The County of Kent War Memorial in Canterbury, Hatfield War Memorial in Hertfordshire and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight War Memorial in Winchester are all newly listed at Grade II*

To commemorate the centenary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 15 First World War memorials across the country by one of the Commission's principal architects Sir Herbert Baker, have been listed or upgraded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

War memorial surrounded by timber cloister
Blackmoor War Memorial Cloister in Hampshire (upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*) © Historic England DP189213

Sir Herbert Baker was born in Cobham in Kent in 1862 and is celebrated for designing 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot near Ypres in Belgium, one of the four 'Memorials to the Missing' and the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. He is also responsible for three other 'Memorials to the Missing' on the Western Front and 24 war memorials in villages and towns all over England.

He also designed many well-known buildings in London built in the inter-war years. These include Grade II* listed South Africa House and Grade II* listed Rhodes House, as well as his last major public commission, the Bank of England, which is listed at Grade I and built between 1925 and 1939.

Internationally, Sir Herbert Baker is remembered as a key figure in South African architecture. During the 1890s he designed the Prime Ministerial residence 'Groote Schuur' and many private residences. From 1912, he collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens in India designing some of New Delhi's most notable government structures.

Sir Herbert Baker had a profound interest in symbolism. For example, a recurring design is a cross with an octagonal shaft on an octagonal plinth with carved stone roses and lilies, representing England and France, forming a circlet around the cross; as well as a Crusader warship, reversed sword, St George killing the dragon, and heraldic devices.

Among the war memorials that have been upgraded, the War Cloister at Winchester College has been upgraded from Grade II to the highest grade - Grade I. The memorial is designed in the unusual form of a medieval cloister and it is exceptional as the largest known private war memorial in Europe and one of the most distinguished of all war memorials at public schools. It is decorated with symbols which include many coats of arms, angels carrying gilded symbols and badges of the 120 regiments in which the college students served.

View of memorials on the cloister wall
The North Walk, War Cloister at Winchester College, Hampshire (upgraded from Grade II to Grade I) © Historic England DP189173

New listings

There are three new listings at Grade II*:

  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight War Memorial which stands in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral and incorporates a stone from Cloth Hall in Ypres which was destroyed in the war, symbolically linking the memorial to the Western Front campaign
  • The elegant County of Kent War Memorial Cross which holds a striking position in Canterbury Cathedral's Memorial Garden
  • Hatfield War Memorial in Old Hatfield Conservation Area which includes a shelter pavilion that is similar to the shelter buildings built in the cemeteries of the Western Front

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing for Historic England said: "It's an honour to pay tribute to the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in this, their centenary year. Sir Herbert Baker was one of their principal architects, and designed some of their most important cemeteries. At home, he was responsible for numerous war memorials ranging from the utterly exceptional War Memorial Cloister for Winchester College to the simple, yet poignant, cross in his home village at Cobham in Kent. We are listing these memorials as part of our response to the centenary of the First World War."

Stone war memorial in memorial garden
County of Kent War Memorial Cross, Canterbury (listed Grade II*) © Historic England DP187998

Sir Herbert Baker war memorial listings and upgradings

Newly listed Sir Herbert Baker memorials at Grade II*

County of Kent War Memorial Cross, Canterbury (listed Grade II*)
Unveiled in 1921, this war memorial at Canterbury Cathedral is an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on a local community and the sacrifice it made in the First World War. The memorial cross is in the form of Sir Herbert Baker's Ypres Cross with symbolic representation of England and France and incorporating symbols of crusade and sacrifice such as the reversed sword and Crusader ship. It is a carefully positioned memorial, providing a striking focus at the centre of the memorial garden.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight War Memorial, Winchester (listed Grade II*)
Standing in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, this dramatically-positioned memorial incorporates a stone from the ruined Ypres Cloth Hall, an iconic building that was destroyed in the First World War. It is an elegant memorial cross incorporating symbols for England and France, combined with heraldic devices and bronze wreaths. It remembers 8,786 servicemen who died in the First World War as well as 460 citizens of Winchester.

Hatfield War Memorial, Hertfordshire (listed Grade II*)
The walled memorial garden, including the cross and pavilion shelter is situated on the east side of the Great North Road in Old Hatfield Conservation Area. Unveiled in 1921, the war memorial includes one of Sir Herbert Baker's cross designs incorporating his symbolic representation of England and France and a shelter pavilion, arranged within a walled garden. The shelter pavilion houses memorial tablets with high quality carved lettering.

Newly upgraded Sir Herbert Baker memorials

The War Cloister at Winchester College, Hampshire (upgraded from Grade II to
Grade I
)
The War Cloister at Winchester College was built in 1922-24. It is exceptional as the largest known private war memorial in Europe. It has an unusual medieval design in the form of a cloister, reflecting the college's medieval buildings and serving as a sacred way to the college precincts. It is a poignant reminder of the many young men of Winchester College that lost their lives and whose names are engraved on the outer walls and columns. It is decorated with the finest stone slabs from across the world including South African granite, Australian syenite which is similar to granite, Canadian marble and Indian black marble.  The floor of the memorial also contains four pieces of stone from the destroyed village of Ypres in Belgium.

Blackmoor War Memorial Cloister in Hampshire (upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*)
Blackmoor War Memorial Cloister is a cross and fountain which stands to the west of Grade II* St Matthew's Church. The memorial combines a number of Sir Herbert Baker's motifs, including one of his elegant cross designs. Unveiled in 1920, it is an early example of Baker's successful collaboration with British sculptor Sir Charles Wheeler, whose work is also found on many of Baker's other buildings. It represents Baker's first cloister design and led to the commission of his masterpiece, the War Cloister at Winchester College.

Overbury War Memorial Lych gate at Church of St Faith, Worcestershire (upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*)
Unveiled in 1921, the large and imposing lych gate unusually has a coffin rest in its centre. It was designed by Sir Herbert Baker at the instruction of the Holland-Martins of Overbury Court whose 19 year old son Geoffrey Holland-Martin had been killed in France in 1918 and has no known grave. However, the memorial commemorates all 27 local servicemen who died in the First World War. The oak of the lych gate's heavy timberwork has similarities to the framing in Baker's war memorial cloister at Blackmoor and was harvested from woodland in Worcestershire.

Harrow School War Memorial Building, Grove Hill, Harrow-on-the-Hill  (upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*)
Harrow School War Memorial comprises a prominent and artfully sited group of Shrine, Memorial Building, and ceremonial staircase, filling a narrow plot between the Grove Hill and Church Hill. The Memorial Building and terrace to the south of the War Memorial building were previously separately listed. It was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1920 and erected from 1922-26. The scale and significance given to the group, at the heart of the school, with a lamp that must be lit at all times in memory of the fallen, makes this an outstanding private memorial for a public school.  The two-storey Neo-Jacobean building lines Grove Hill with the gated and vaulted loggia which contains the shrine.

Harrow School War Memorial Building
Harrow School War Memorial Building (upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*) © Historic England

Newly listed Sir Herbert Baker memorials at Grade II

Ascot War Memorial, High Street, Ascot, Berkshire (listed Grade II)
This tall Portland stone memorial with blind wheel-head cross stands on the High Street outside the entrance to Ascot Racecourse Stables. It commemorates 64 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War, the memorial's base was raised and augmented so that the names of 28 men who died in that conflict could be added. The name of a soldier who fell in Afghanistan was added in 2011.

Chicheley War Memorial, Junction of Hall Lane and Newport Road, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire (listed Grade II)
This simple, yet elegant memorial cross includes Sir Herbert Baker's plain Latin cross head and octagonal plinth with steps. It commemorates eight local servicemen who died in the First World War. It was unveiled in 1920 by Lady Farrar of Chicheley Hall who was the widow of Sir George Farrar who died in 1915 while serving in Namibia. Baker had designed the Farrars' house in Johannesburg - Bedford Court, which is now known as St Andrew's School for Girls.

Etchingham War Memorial, Churchyard of the Parish Church of St Nicholas and St Mary, High Street, Etchingham, East Sussex (listed Grade II)
This memorial cross is made from Portland stone and commemorates 15 local servicemen who died in the First World War and five men who died in the Second World War. It was unveiled in 1920 by author and poet Rudyard Kipling who was also a member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He lived in nearby Burwash, and paid Baker's fee.

Kemerton War Memorial, High Street, Kemerton, Worcestershire (listed Grade II)
This tall Latin cross is built in local limestone and its design is adapted from the ancient village cross in Lacock in Wiltshire but includes Sir Herbert Baker's signature octagonal drum-like plinth. It stands in a prominent position close to Grade II listed Lindum House. The memorial was conserved in 2015 with the help of grant aid from the War Memorials Trust.

King's School War Memorial, Memorial Court, The King's School, Canterbury, Kent (listed Grade II)
This memorial comprises the blind wheel-head cross with sword, along with King's School's badge. It commemorates former pupils who died in both the First and Second World Wars. The memorial stands on three steps in a prominent position in front of the Grade I listed Norman staircase and is the focal point of a ceremonial space, intended to play a part at key moments of school life. For example: the lower step would be used for announcements relating to school games, the middle step for those connected with school business and the top step would be used to conduct open-air services.

Potterne War Memorial, St Mary's Church, Church Corner, Potterne, Wiltshire (listed Grade II)
This memorial is made from Portland stone and stands in a prominent position close to Grade I Church of St Mary. It was unveiled in 1921 and commemorates 26 local servicemen who died in the First World War and 13 men who died in the Second World War.

Richmond Borough War Memorial, Friary Gardens off Queens Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire (listed Grade II)
This cross, built in Staindrop stone, includes Baker's plain Latin cross head with a deep octagonal plinth, ornamented with his warship motif. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial commemorates 101 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War, the names of 54 men were added, recorded on metal plaques fixed to the memorial's retaining wall.

Rochester War Memorial, War Memorial Garden, High Street, Rochester, Kent (listed Grade II)
This tall, Portland stone memorial cross stands in a small war memorial garden to the east of Grade I listed Rochester Cathedral, overlooking the High Street. It comprises the blind wheel-head cross with sword and warship motif. A photograph dated 1922 shows the memorial cross covered in floral tributes which suggests the unveiling ceremony took place that year.

Updated list descriptions for Sir Herbert Baker war memorials

Sir Herbert Baker war memorials - no change

Hampshire and Isle of Wight War Memorial, Winchester (listed Grade II*) by Winchester Cathedral
Hampshire and Isle of Wight War Memorial, Winchester (listed Grade II*) by Winchester Cathedral © Historic England DP189199
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