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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Sussex
Rother (District Authority)
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A war memorial designed by Sir Charles Nicholson (1867-1949). It was unveiled on 24 October 1920.

Reasons for Designation

Burwash War Memorial, designed by Sir Charles Nicholson in the form of an Eleanor Cross surmounted by a 'lanterne des morts', is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community and the sacrifices made in the conflicts of the C20; * Architectural interest: the war memorial was designed by the notable architect Sir Charles Nicholson and is a high calibre design, well executed in good quality Clipsham stone; * Historical connections: the author Rudyard Kipling, who lived in the parish of Burwash, influenced the form of the monument and choice of designer. One of those commemorated was his own son, John, reported missing at the Battle of Loos in 1915 who became associated with Kipling's 1916 Battle of Jutland poem 'My Boy Jack'; * Form and symbolism: war memorials in the form of an Eleanor Cross are unusual and 'lanterne des morts', which Rudyard Kipling had seen in French cemeteries, are very rare in England; * Rarity (tradition): the lantern is lit to commemorate the anniversary of the death of each Burwash man recorded on the monument, a ceremony which is thought to be unique; * Group value: Burwash war memorial is situated in a prominent position within Burwash Conservation Area surrounded by listed buildings.


A Burwash War Memorial Committee was established in 1917 and one of the members was the author Rudyard Kipling, who lived nearby. Designs were submitted by the architects Sir Herbert Baker, a friend of Kipling, and Sir Charles Nicholson. Nicholson's Eleanor Cross design was chosen, probably because Kipling was particularly interested in lanterns commemorating the dead which he had seen in France, and Nicholson had included one in his design. Kipling composed the words inscribed on the memorial and contributed to the £696 3s and 5d cost of the memorial.

Kipling's 18 year old son Lt John Kipling, Irish Guards, to whom at the age of 12 he had dedicated the poem 'If', was reported missing in September 1915 at the Battle of Loos and became associated with Kipling's Battle of Jutland 1916 poem 'My Boy Jack'. He is one of the 63 Burwash men commemorated on the war memorial who fell in the First World War.

Burwash war memorial was unveiled on 20 October 1920 by General Lord Horne GCB KCMG. At a later date 14 further names were added of those who fell in the Second World War.

A unique custom is that the lantern is lit to commemorate the anniversary of the death of each Burwash man who is recorded on the monument. This was followed from 1920 onwards, except during the Second World War to comply with blackout regulations.

The designer of Burwash war memorial, Sir Charles Nicholson (1867-1949), had 30 important civil commissions and was a leading ecclesiastical architect of the early C20 who designed several churches and repaired, extended and refurbished about 200 medieval or Victorian churches. Nicholson was articled to J D Sedding, a leading architect in the Victorian Gothic style. In 1893 he set up his own practice and in the same year won the RIBA's Tite prize. He joined H C Corlette in partnership from 1895 to 1916. In his career Nicholson designed many parish churches in the English Gothic style and was considered an authority on the design and furnishing of churches. He was consulting architect to seven cathedrals and Diocesan architect to four. In collaboration with Corlette he also designed the government buildings in Kingston, Jamaica after the earthquake of 1907, an early and extensive scheme of reinforced concrete buildings. In 1927 he took into partnership his chief assistant Thomas Johnson Rushton, whose son continued the practice. Nicholson is known to have designed 62 war memorials, also the War Memorial Chapel at Rugby School Chapel (1922, listed at Grade II*) commemorating former pupils killed in conflict.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), lived in the parish of Burwash at Batemans. He was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 1907. In the same year that he joined the Burwash War Memorial Committee he was appointed a member of the Imperial War Graves Commission and approved epitaphs on the Commission's memorials as well as composing many of them.


A war memorial designed by Sir Charles Nicholson (1867-1949). The builder was W J Ellis. It was unveiled on 24 October 1920.

MATERIALS: Clipsham stone and wooden door.

PLAN: a hexagonal-shaped Eleanor cross plan with lantern, about 25 feet in height.

DESCRIPTION: it consists of three stages on a plinth and double hexagonal base. The top stage has an open 'lanterne des morts' with round-headed openings and a crenellated moulded cornice and is surmounted by a cross. The middle stage has chamfered panels with shields on each face representing the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Artillery, Cross of St George, Peace and Victory and Arms of Sussex. The lower stage has a crenellated string-course, below which on one side is a small ogee arch with a lockable wooden opening allowing access to the lantern mechanism. The other sides are inscribed with the names of the 63 men from Burwash who died during the two World Wars. The inscription at the top of the lower stage reads 'Remember the men of Burwash who died for their country AD 1914-1919' and at the bottom of the lower stage is the inscription 'Their name liveth for evermore' with the dates 1939-1945 and a cross inscribed on one side of the plinth. 63 men who perished in the First World War are commemorated and 14 from the Second World War. Those commemorated include John Kipling, son of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) who lived at Bateman's nearby and served on the memorial committee.


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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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 13 Mar 2007
Reference: IOE01/16252/06
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter Keeble. Source Historic England Archive
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