Stanway War Memorial
Heritage Category: Listed Building
List Entry Number: 1154209
Date first listed: 07-Sep-1987
Date of most recent amendment: 14-Oct-2016
Statutory Address: Junction of B4077 and Stanton Road, Stanway, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
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Statutory Address: Junction of B4077 and Stanton Road, Stanway, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Tewkesbury (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SP0609832148
First World War memorial, 1920, designed by Sir Philip Sidney Stott, with a bronze of St George sculpted by Alexander Fisher and lettering by Eric Gill.
Reasons for Designation
Stanway War Memorial, situated at junction of B4077 and southern end of Stanton Road, Stanway, 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 made in the conflicts of the C20; * Architectural interest: as a collaboration between the sculptor Alexander Fisher, Sir Philip Sidney Stott, living in nearby Stanton, and Eric Gill who carried out some decorative details in relief and executed the inscriptions; * Sculptural interest: Fisher’s bronze St George is an accomplished and detailed depiction of a vigorous, eternal youth, vanquishing a falling dragon, and Gill’s inscriptions demonstrate the finest of lettering; * Design: as a fine example of a bronze St George and dragon group, merging well with a complimentary column and plinth with fine inscriptions, on a base designed to represent the Tudor rose supporting the whole, and featuring a shell symbolic of a pilgrim’s badge, which was intended to draw visitors to the memorial to remember, the scallop was also the badge of the Tracy family who built Stanway House, and is sculpted onto buildings and walls around the house. * Historic association: the war memorial was commissioned by the Wemyss family and a committee of parishioners in memory of the men of Stanway who fell in the Great War, including two children of the Earl & Countess of Wemyss, Hugo, Lord Elcho and Yvo Charteris; * Materials: as an example of the deliberate use of local materials to enhance the symbolic meaning of the memorial, in this case North Cotswold stone from the Jackdaw Quarry on the Stanway House estate; * Group value: with Stanway House (listed Grade I) and its park and garden (registered Grade I).
Stanway village is dominated by Stanway House (listed Grade I) and its designed landscape (registered Grade I), historic seat of the Earls of Wemyss and March. Two sons of the Earl and Countess of Wemyss had been killed during the war (the eldest, Francis Charteris, Lord Elcho, and the youngest, Yvo Alan Charteris). Lord Elcho had been killed in Egypt in April 1916 and Yvo in October 1915. It was their mother Mary Wemyss who commissioned the war memorial, on behalf of a committee of parishioners which she chaired, to commemorate the fallen of the villages. Mary appears to have been a driving force behind the whole project, which also included a memorial inside Stanway church.
2nd Lieutenant The Hon Yvo Alan Charteris was 18 and had just left Eton when he went to France with the Grenadier Guards, attached to the First Battalion (Special Reserve). He was killed during the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October 1915 whilst still only 19, after having served for only three weeks. Official letters said he was shot and killed instantly whilst leading his men over the top. He is buried at Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery in France. His original battlefield cross is inside St Peter's Church, Stanway. Nine months later, the family learned that Lord Elcho, Captain Lord Hugo Francis Charteris, had been killed aged 32 by a shell at Katia whilst in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Yeomanry. His name appears on the Jerusalem Memorial.
Mary Wemyss was familiar with the work of Alexander Fisher, who had been commissioned to produce work for her mother, Madeleine. Fisher (1864-1936) was a London-based sculptor, enameller, silversmith, metal worker, medallist. He worked and studied in Rome and Paris, became interested in metalwork there, and exhibited through the Arts and Crafts Society on his return to London, where he established a workshop. He taught at the LCC Central School of Arts, and later set up his own school in Kensington. He also wrote influential work on his specialism in enamel. His work was widely exhibited and he became a very fashionable jeweller in his time.
Soon after the Armistice, in 1919, Mary had commissioned Fisher to design a memorial for the men of Stanway. He conceived a St George and the dragon sculpture atop a column and steps of local North Cotswold stone from the Stanway Estate. He intended the height to be 16 feet (c 4.8m) and estimated that the cost would be at least £300 (in fact it came to c £700).
Much discussion took place as to the exact design, location, inscriptions, list of names, and cost. It was eventually decided to place the memorial facing west, at the crossroads entrance to the village, a place known as the Cockpit.
The local newspaper’s account of the unveiling of the memorial reported that Sir Philip Sidney Stott (1858-1937), the architect who lived at nearby Stanton Court, had taken an advisory role in the design. He was born and educated in Lancashire, before joining the family architecture firm, Stott and Sons, which had practices in Oldham and Manchester. He set up his own practice, P S Stott, in 1883, and specialised in designing cotton mills including 77 in Lancashire and many in Europe, India and the Far East.
Mary Wemyss chose Eric Gill to execute the inscriptions on the monument, all of which are still visible. Gill also carved the decorative details on the uppermost part of the column: a shell representing a pilgrim’s badge, and a shield of England.
Eric Gill (1882-1940) was one of the most celebrated lettercutters, engravers, typographers and sculptors of his time. Before the First World War he built his reputation on his work as a lettercutter and engraver, but began to sculpt in 1909, preferring the unconventional direct carving style of practice. After the First World War he was commissioned to design war memorials including at Bisham, Briantspuddle, Chirk, Leeds University, South Harting and Trumpington. His work later included large architectural sculptures, including figures for the exterior of Broadcasting House and a large relief entitled The Creation of Adam at the League of Nations Palace, Geneva.
The memorial was paid for by the Wemyss family, friends’ donations, and collections in the three local villages (Wood Stanway and Taddington are also in the parish of Stanway). The Stanway War Memorial Fund was also drawn from to create a war memorial in the church. A faculty was granted in September 1920 to inscribe the embrasure of a chancel window with the names of the fallen. It was Mary who commissioned this, again from Fisher and Gill.
The memorial was unveiled by Lady Elcho on 30 October 1920 and dedicated by the Bishop of Gloucester following a service and unveiling of the new window and war memorial embrasure at the church. After prayers by the Bishop, the Countess of Wemyss made a speech at the memorial. Many of the Wemyss family and connected nobility were in attendance, along with a reported 40 ex-servicemen, and Stott and Fisher.
Notably, the war memorial was not altered to include Second World War casualties’ names. There are two Second World War casualties’ names on a brass plaque inside St Peter’s Church.
MATERIALS: the memorial is made of local North Cotswolds stone from the Jackdaw Quarry on the Stanway House estate. The plinth is of sandstone.
DESCRIPTION: the memorial consists of a bronze sculpture by Alexander Fisher of St George slaying a falling dragon, which coils around the upper part of a circular section stone column bearing relief carvings of a shield of England, and a pilgrim’s badge (shell).
The design of the column is thought to have been by Sir Philip Sidney Stott. Mr Grimmett of Laverton was in charge of building. The execution of the inscription and the decorative reliefs towards the upper part of the column was by Eric Gill.
The column has a square-sectioned collar towards the upper part, which bears inscriptions of the theatres of war in which the Stanway men were killed. The column stands atop a square plinth with moulded cornice and raised inscription panels around the sides (which are incised) bearing names.
The plinth is set upon a four-stepped base, indented to give the impression of representing a Tudor rose.
On the right side of the square-section collar near the top of the column: FRANCE. On the reverse of the square-section collar near the top of the column: EGYPT AND/ GALLIPOLI. Front face of plinth: MEN OF STANWAY/ 1914 - 1918/ FOR A TOMB/ THEY HAVE AN ALTAR/ FOR LAMENTATION/ MEMORY/ AND FOR PITY/ PRAISE (from the Greek poet Simonides). Right side of plinth: (six names) and the left side: (five names). Reverse of plinth: FOR YOUR/ TO-MORROW/ WE GAVE/ OUR TO-DAY (from J Maxwell Edmunds’ Inscriptions Suggested for War Memorials HMSO 1919).
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, 10 January 2017.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 09/11/2016
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 134886
Legacy System: LBS
Books and journals
Dakers, C, Clouds: The Biography of a Country House, (1993), 203
Jalland, P, Death in the Victorian Family, (1996), 375-6
Peace, D, Eric Gill: The Inscriptions, (1994)
Epitaphs of the Great War, Stanway war memorial, accessed 27 July 2016 from http://www.epitaphsofthegreatwar.com/two-sons-of-the-souls-hugo-and-yvo-charteris
University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, 2011 'Alexander Fisher Hon ARCA', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, accessed 27 July 2016 from http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib2_1203029470
Victoria & Albert Museum collections, Alexander Fisher biographical details, accessed 31 July 2016 from http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O126529/the-tree-of-life-morse-fisher-alexander
War Memorials Online, accessed 10 January 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/103207
War Memorials Register, accessed 21 July 2016 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/20854
Stanway War Memorial: Unveiled by Lady Elcho, Cheltenham Echo, Monday 01 November 1920, p.5
Taylor, R., (2012), A study of the origins and development of Great War memorials in the County of Gloucestershire (1917-1933). MRes History Thesis, University of Gloucestershire.
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing