First World War memorial, erected c1920.
Reasons for Designation
The Commondale Shepherds War Memorial, situated on Commondale Moor c700m to the north of Ings Farm, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the First World War;
* Biographical: the memorial is unusual in remembering two friends, both shepherds, standing on open moorland where they lived and worked;
* Group value: with a range of scheduled monuments surrounding the memorial and a group of Grade II-listed boundary markers to the north-east.
Robert Leggott and Alfred Cockerill were boyhood friends and shepherds working on the Gisborough Estate, and the place on the moorland above the village of Commondale where their memorial stands was reputedly their favourite spot. In 1914 they went to London together to join the Grenadier Guards.
Alfred Cockerill was wounded in the head in July 1916 when the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards was holding trenches near Ypres. There were attacks on both sides of their position resulting in close quarter fighting and shelling, and also sniper activity. Returned to Britain, he was declared unfit for any further duty. Now an epileptic, he was sent to the Chalfont Colony, Chalfont St Peter (Bucks), which had been opened in 1894 by The National Society for the Employment of Epileptics. He died there on 11 August 1920.
Robert Henry Leggott, who was 17, lied about his age in order to enlist. He was killed on 25 September 1916 on the Somme in the assault on the German lines before Lesboeufs village. The 4th Battalion suffered 452 casualties in this attack, approximately half its strength. Leggott was aged 19; his body was never found. His name is on the Thiepval Memorial.
The memorial stone on Commondale Moor was commissioned by the Honorable Margaret Chaloner, daughter of Richard, first Baron Guisborough. It was presumably erected shortly after Cockerill’s death in 1920; his ashes are thought to have been scattered near the memorial. Robert Leggott and Alfred Cockerill are also remembered on the Commondale village war memorial.
Standing on open moorland, the war memorial comprises a narrow, round-headed gritstone pillar c2m high, with rough diagonal tooling. At the top, the Guards’ Fusiliers badge is carved in relief in a small panel. Below that a panel occupying the centre of the pillar’s face carries the inscription FOR/ REMEMBRANCE./ GUARDSMEN/ ROBBIE LEGGOTT/ KILLED IN ACTION/ 1916./ ALF COCKERILL/ DIED OF WOUNDS/ 1920./ DUTY 1914. The pillar is set in a low stone base.
The list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 4 July 2016.
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, 1 February 2017.