Great Billing War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Junction of Elwes Way and High Street, Great Billing, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN3 9DT


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Statutory Address:
Junction of Elwes Way and High Street, Great Billing, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN3 9DT

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

Northampton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, 1922, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

Great Billing War Memorial, on the corner of Elwes Way and the High Street, 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 conflicts of the C20; * Design: a well-executed Calvary cross; * Group value: with the Grade II-listed Old Convent.


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 Great Billing as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by eight members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

A memorial to the men of Great Billing who fell had been discussed at a parish meeting held on 14 May 1919, when the decision was made to erect a cross. The memorial was unveiled by Lord Denbigh at a ceremony on 1 July 1922. The Elwes family donated components including the stonework by Mr C Padbury, the estate mason, whilst the estate gardener, Mr G Clarke, planted up the memorial. The parish paid for the Hopton stone tablet provided by Messrs Pullen, and for the Calvary cross. The figure of Christ crucified was carved in Belgium from timber which came from Billing Hall.


The memorial takes the form of a roadside Calvary standing on the corner of Elwes Way and High Street. Two wide, curving, steps lead up to a Calvary cross, c3.5m high, with the figure of Christ crucified under a gabled, tiled, canopy. The corpus is carved in pine, painted white, whilst the canopy is oak. At the foot of the cross shaft a small plaque bears an inscription reading: 'GREATER LOVE THAN/ THIS NO MAN HATH/ THAT A MAN LAY/ DOWN HIS LIFE/ FOR HIS FRIENDS'.

Behind the Calvary cross is a curving ironstone wall, in the centre of which is set a large Hopton stone tablet inscribed: 'THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED IN MEMORY OF THE MEN/ WHO SERVED IN THE WAR. 1914 TO 1918'. It lists the names of those eight who fell, grouped in the central column headed R.I.P., and also the names of all those from the village who served with a letter alongside each signifying whether they served abroad, at home, were a prisoner or were wounded. To the side of the main tablet is a smaller one recording the names of three servicemen who died in the Second World War.

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, 17 January 2017.


War Memorials Online, accessed 17 January 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 17 January 2017 from
'Great Billing', Northampton Mercury, 16 May 1921, p5
'Lord Denbigh Opens Great Billing War Memorial', Northampton Mercury, 7 July 1922, p13


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

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