First World War memorial, 1921, by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Reasons for Designation
Ashwell war memorial is listed at Grade II for the following principle reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the First World War;
* Architect: by the nationally renowned architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944), who designed 58 extant memorials at home and abroad including the Cenotaph in Whitehall;
* Design: a simple yet elegant War Cross, with the unusual feature of a two-stepped circular base rather than three.
Ashwell’s war memorial committee was set up in 1919 under the chairmanship of Wolverley Attwood Fordham, a local brewer, with his wife Phyllis as secretary. It invited proposals from Sir Reginald Blomfield (who submitted a design for a cross), Sir Edwin Lutyens (a cross, obelisk or Stone of Remembrance) and Tappers, a local builder (a cenotaph). The Lutyens cross was preferred and was endorsed following a public meeting in January 1920.
The cross was built by Messrs Holland, Hannen and Cubitt Ltd, the contractors for the Cenotaph in Whitehall. It was unveiled by Lord Hampden, the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, on 4 December 1921. The cost was £557 with Lutyens being paid a fee of £42 19s 10d.
Sir Edwin Lutyens OM RA (1869-1944) was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War his reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. While the Cenotaph in Whitehall (London) had the most influence on other war memorials, the Thiepval Arch was the most influential on other forms of architecture. He designed the Stone of Remembrance which was placed in all Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and in some cemeteries in England, including some with which he was not otherwise associated.
Ashwell’s war memorial stands east of the main village, on the meeting point of Lucas Lane and Station Road. It comprises a standard Lutyens War Cross in Portland stone which unusually is here set on a square podium which itself stands on two circular steps rather than the usual three.
Front (east): IN HONOUR OF THE MEN OF/ ASHWELL WHO FOUGHT IN THE/ GREAT WAR AND IN LOVING/ MEMORY OF THOSE WHO FELL/ OUR GLORIOUS DEAD/ (NAMES)/ THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE
South: 1914 (NAMES)
North: 1919 (NAMES)
The names of those who fell in the Second World War are inscribed on the podium.
The memorial, the ground to the front retained by a retaining kerb, is approached by a flight of six steps, contemporary with, and integral to, the memorial.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 14/10/2015
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, 12 January 2017.