First World War memorial, 1920, with additions for later conflicts.
Reasons for Designation
High Spen War Memorial, which stands in the churchyard of St Patrick’s Church, 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 local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20 and C21;
* Architectural interest: a tall and imposing memorial cross incorporating a sheathed sword, a symbol of the end of conflict.
The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at High Spen as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.
The memorial was unveiled on 19 July 1920 by F Priestman and dedicated by Bishop Welldon, in commemoration of 91 local servicemen who died in the First World War and one who died in 1920, presumably of the effects of wounds. The memorial cost £340, raised by public subscription, and was provided by RB Aves of Newcastle. Following the Second World War the details of 35 men who died in that conflict were added. The name of a soldier who died in Afghanistan in 2007 has also been added.
The memorial stands in the churchyard of St Patrick’s Church (not listed), in the driveway off Lintzford Lane. The light grey granite memorial, c4.5m tall, takes the form of a wheel-head cross standing on a tall pedestal, square on plan. A sheathed sword, carved in low relief, appears hung from its belt on the front of the wheel-head. The pedestal stands on a stepped base. The monument is surrounded by a square kerbed enclosure with low pyramidal pillars at each corner.
Each face of the pedestal is divided into two recessed panels, containing dark stone plaques. First World War names are recorded in each upper panel, with Second World War names in the lower panels. The principal dedicatory inscription is found in the upper panel on the front face, reading BY THE LONG ROAD THEY TROD/ WITH SO MUCH FAITH AND WITH/ SUCH SELF-SACRIFICING BRAVERY/ WE HAVE ARRIVED AT VICTORY/ AND TODAY THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD (NAMES). The details of the soldier who died in 2007 are incised into the kerb, at the front of the memorial.
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, 7 February 2017.