War memorial. Erected in 1922-23, after the First World War, to the design of Lieutenant Colonel Brewill by Joseph Payne of Crich. Iron railings and gate added in 1929. Additional plaques added in 1952 and 1991 to commemorate those who died during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts.
Reasons for Designation
Crich Stand, erected in 1922-23 as the Sherwood Foresters’ regimental memorial on the summit of Crich Hill, Derbyshire, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* a tower is recorded on this site in 1760, and the existing building incorporates fabric from subsequent towers erected in 1788 and 1849-51; a crowd gathered here in 1856 to mark the end of the Crimean War;
* as a poignant reminder of the considerable sacrifice made by the Sherwood Foresters Regiment (and successor regiments) during the First World War, Second World War and subsequent conflicts;
* Architectural interest: a well-positioned and imposing tower that forms an impressive landmark dominating the surrounding countryside and Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site;
* Rarity: war memorial that also serves as a viewing platform and an (inland) lighthouse;
* Materials: a finely-constructed tower of local Derbyshire Gritstone with ashlar dressings, which rests on a rock-faced sandstone platform.
The aftermath of the First World War saw an unprecedented wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and 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 the summit of Crich Hill, Derbyshire, as permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).
The memorial is located on a carboniferous limestone outcrop, forming a hill partly truncated by quarrying. The name ‘Crich’ is thought to originate from the old British (pre-Roman) word ‘cruc’ meaning hill. The first record of a tower on the site is in 1760 when a wooden tower was erected to mark the accession to the throne of King George III. It subsequently fell into decay and was demolished around 25 years later. In 1788 Francis Hurt paid £20 for a conical limestone tower with a wooden top to be constructed on the site. By 1843 this had fallen into a state of disrepair and in 1849 the stones were used to build the base for a new circular gritstone tower. It opened in 1851 and included a spiral staircase that led to a viewing platform on top where an inscribed stone marked the height of 955 feet above sea level. This tower was the forerunner to the current structure on the site. In June 1856 a crowd gathered to mark the end of the Crimean War against Russia. A war veteran, Sergeant Wetton of the 95th Derbyshire Regiment, was carried to the top of the hill in a specially adapted chair since he had lost a leg at the Battle of Alma (20th Sept 1854). The 95th Derbyshire Regiment combined with the 45th Nottinghamshire Regiment to form The Sherwood Foresters in 1881.
A major landslide of the nearby quarry in June 1882 caused the tower to subside and, following lightning strikes and further movement, it closed to the public. On 15th October 1914, a relative of the builder of the original tower in 1788, also bearing the name Francis Hurt, sold part of the hilltop to the Clay Cross Company. A condition of the sale was that Crich Stand, as it was known locally, was to be taken down and rebuilt nearby. However, the rebuilding was delayed due to the First World War and it was not until 1922 that the existing stones began to be removed and renumbered for reuse.
In October 1921 a committee of The Sherwood Foresters Old Comrades Association was appointed to consider a memorial to the 11,409 Sherwood Foresters who had died during the First World War. Initially, separate memorials in both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were considered before the Colonel of the Regiment, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, recommended one large memorial in a permanent position not far from the border between the two counties, which was agreed in February 1922. It is recorded that a Mr Thomas Linthwaite Tudor suggested the site of Crich Stand would be an ideal place for a memorial and, following a visit to Crich Hill, this was unanimously agreed. Major Francis Hurt of Alderwasley granted the site to the Sherwood Foresters and the Clay Cross Company agreed to donate the stonework from the old tower, move the materials and even contribute a subscription of £200.
The new memorial tower was designed by Lieutenant Colonel Brewill, DSO commander of the 1st/7th (Robin Hood) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. He sadly died before the tower was completed and his son, Captain L C Brewill, carried out supervision of the building work to its completion. The builder was Joseph Payne of Crich and the memorial was erected at a cost of approximately £2382 with the money being raised through public subscription. Once complete, the tower rose to 19m high with 59 steps leading to a viewing platform beneath the dome which weighed 40 tons. It incorporated the stones of the previous tower (located a few metres away), as well as one stone from the tower built in 1788. In addition, two Books of Remembrance containing the names of all those members of the regiment that lost their lives were deposited at The Sherwood Foresters Museum Gallery, Nottingham Castle and at the Derby City Museum and Art Gallery.
Crich Stand Memorial was officially opened at 4pm on Monday 6th August 1923 in a ceremony attended by the Colonel of the Regiment, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, and the Duke of Portland, the Duke of Devonshire, Admiral Salmon and the Bishop of Southwell. The service commenced with the singing of the hymn ‘O Valient Hearts, Who To Your Glory Came’, led by the band of the 1st Battalion, followed by a reading of Revelation Chapter 21. A golden key was then handed to the Colonel to open the tower. This was followed by a dedication, the sounding of the Last Post and the Blessing before a Reveille (bugle call) rang out.
The plinth at the base of the memorial was surrounded by metal railings and gates in 1929. In August of the following year, General Smith-Dorrien (1858-1930), Colonel of the Sherwood Foresters since 1905, was tragically killed in a motoring accident. A memorial was erected in his honour adjacent to the tower; it forms a screen wall with an inscription panel and a plot of remembrance in front of it. In 1934 a 28in revolving searchlight with a luminous range of 38 miles was installed beneath the dome of the tower by Messrs Chance Bros. & Co Ltd., Marine and Lighthouse Engineers. It was first illuminated on 12th August 1934, marking the death of General Smith-Dorrien, and was subsequently illuminated to mark battle honours and anniversaries, and then on a nightly basis. In 1952 a dedication panel was added to the memorial tower in memory of the 1520 Sherwood Foresters who died during the Second World War. The lettering of the tower inscriptions was recut in July 1990. Two further memorial plaques were added on either side of the doorway in 1991: one in memory of Sherwood Foresters who had died in subsequent conflicts between 1945 and 1970, and another in memory of those of The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment who had lost their lives since the formation of the new regiment and amalgamation with the Worcestershire Regiment. A further panel was added in memory of the members of the Mercian Regiment who gave their lives since 2007. The Mercian Regiment was formed in that year following the amalgamation of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment with the Cheshire Regiment and the Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's). The lineage of the Sherwood Foresters is now continued by the 2nd Battalion, Mercian Regiment. Two memorial stones have been erected on the nearby pathway in memory of Brigadier J H M Hacket (1912-1985), a former Colonel of the Sherwood Foresters, and Colonel S L A Carter (1912-1999), a former President of The Sherwood Foresters Association. In 2011 the tower was repointed. An annual regimental pilgrimage and memorial service is held at the tower on the first Sunday in July.
War memorial. Erected in 1922-3, after the First World War, to the design of Lieutenant Colonel Brewill by Joseph Payne of Crich. Iron railings and gate added in 1929. Additional plaques added in 1952 and 1991 to commemorate those who died during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts.
MATERIALS: coursed and squared Derbyshire Gritstone tower with ashlar dressings, which rests on a rock-faced sandstone platform with wrought-iron railings and gates. Bronze commemorative panels.
DESCRIPTION: the war memorial is situated on the summit of Crich Hill, Derbyshire, commanding views over the surrounding countryside. It comprises a circular tower of coursed and squared Derbyshire Gritstone, with ashlar dressings, rising from a battered square platform of rock-faced sandstone. This platform has massive flat copings supporting wrought-iron enclosure railings and an entrance gateway approached by stone steps at the south. The tower doorway is set within a massive ashlar surround formed from heavy stone jambs with a deep lintel and pediment bearing a bronze wreath. Above the doorway is the regimental insignia of the Sherwood Foresters and the dates, in bronze lettering: 1914-18/ 1939-1945. Still higher, in the south face of the tower, is a Latin cross with a sword set into its face. At the top of the tower is an open arcaded lantern with fluted Doric columns, a circular stone frieze and cornice beneath an ashlar dome and flaming finial. This lantern provides an open viewing gallery, approached by an internal spiral staircase, and contains a powerful electric beacon lamp which is illuminated at night and visible from a great distance.
The lintel over the tower doorway contains an inscription in incised lettering: TO THE MEMORY OF 11409 MEN OF ALL RANKS OF THE/ SHERWOOD FORESTERS (NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AND DERBYSHIRE/ REGIMENT) WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR KING AND FOR THEIR/ COUNTRY IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1919 AND IN HONOUR/ OF 140000 OF THEIR COMRADES WHO SERVED DURING THE/ WAR IN THIRTY TWO BATTALIONS OF THE REGIMENT THIS/ MONUMENT IS GRATEFULLY ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE/ COUNTIES OF NOTTINGHAM AND DERBY./ TO REMIND US OF THEIR SACRIFICE AND OUR DUTY.
A plaque to the left of the main gateway added in 1952 contains a cast bronze commemorative plaque bearing the words, in raised lettering: TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND/ IN HONOURED MEMORY OF THE/ 1520 SHERWOOD FORESTERS WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WAR/ OF 1939-1945 & IN HONOUR OF/ THEIR COMRADES WHO SERVED IN/ THE 13 UNITS OF THE REGIMENT.
A plaque to the right contains the regimental badges. There are three further bronze panels either side of the tower door; two to the left and one to the right. The upper panel on the left is inscribed, in raised lettering: THIS MEMORIAL TOWER IS ALSO DEDICATED/ TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE OF THE SHERWOOD/ FORESTERS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE/ SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY/ FROM 1945 TO 1970. The lower panel is inscribed: THIS MEMORIAL TOWER IS FURTHER/ DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE/ MEMBERS OF THE MERCIAN REGIMENT/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE/ OF THEIR COUNTRY SINCE THE/ FORMATION OF THE REGIMENT IN 2007.
The panel to the right is inscribed: THIS MEMORIAL TOWER IS ALSO DEDICATED/ TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE OF THE/ WORCESTERSHIRE AND SHERWOOD FORESTERS/ REGIMENT WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES IN/ THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY SINCE THE/ FORMATION OF THE REGIMENT ON/ 28 FEBRUARY 1970.