'The Cross': a hill-figure war memorial at Lenham

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1438738
Date first listed:
05-Dec-2017
Location Description:
The hill-figure cross is situated on the south-facing slopes of the North Downs at NGR TQ 90582 52774, just north of 'The Pilgrims Way' trackway, overlooking the village of Lenham.

Map

© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1438738.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Jun-2021 at 04:14:11.

Location

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

Location Description:
The hill-figure cross is situated on the south-facing slopes of the North Downs at NGR TQ 90582 52774, just north of 'The Pilgrims Way' trackway, overlooking the village of Lenham.
County:
Kent
District:
Maidstone (District Authority)
Parish:
Lenham
National Grid Reference:
TQ9057952770

Summary

War memorial comprising a hill-figure cross carved into the south facing slope of the North Downs and a separate stepped enclosure with fixed bench and memorial plaque. Unveiled in September 1922.

Reasons for Designation

The war memorial at Lenham, Kent, a chalk-cut hill-figure of a cross with separate enclosure, of 1922, 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;

Architectural interest: * As an unusual type of memorial, striking in its scale and form;

Group value: * With the inscribed memorial stones, now located within the churchyard of St Mary's Church (National Heritage List for England 1086103, Grade I).

History

'The Cross', a hill-figure memorial, was constructed as a permanent testament to the sacrifice of those from the parish who died during the First World War. It was unveiled in September 1922 by Major-General Sir Arthur Lynden-Bell KCB KCMG DL JP (1867-1943). The memorial, which was designed by Mr C H Groom the village school headmaster, originally included an inscribed memorial stone within a separate fenced enclosure at the south end of the cross. The cross hill-figure was constructed by Mr Freddie Baldock with volunteers from the village, who excavated its form through the natural geology by hand.

To ease access for survivors and relatives of those fallen, the memorial stone was re-located in 1960 to the churchyard of St Mary's Church, Lenham (NHLE 1086103, Grade I), nearly 1km to the south-west. Following the Second World War, a second inscribed memorial stone was added and is located within the above churchyard. The re-located stones, which now stand on a plinth, are of roughly hewn granite with smoothed face-panels, inscribed with black lettering. These include the names of those fallen in both World Wars.

In 1977, the Ashford Branch of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Association presented a wooden bench and a memorial plaque as additions to the separate stepped memorial enclosure, south of the cross. The hill-figure cross is maintained by volunteers from the village and was most recently restored with new chalk in 1994.

Details

'The Cross', a hill-figure war memorial, of 1922, designed by Mr C H Groom and unveiled by Major-General Sir Arthur Lynden-Bell KCB KCMG DL JP.

MATERIALS: the memorial is constructed of compacted chalk on a natural chalk base.

DESCRIPTION: the hill-figure memorial, which is in the form of a chalk Latin cross, is carved into the south-facing slope of the North Downs, just north of 'The Pilgrims Way' trackway overlooking the village of Lenham, Kent. The cross measures approximately 61.5m north-south and 21.6m east-west.

A separate enclosure which contained the original memorial stone, 27m south of the cross, has iron railings set on low stone walls. Inside there are six steps leading to a terrace with a wooden bench fixed to a concrete base.

A memorial plaque affixed to the gate of the railed enclosure is inscribed and reads: THE WHITE CROSS/ ON THE HILL/ COMMEMORATES THE DEAD OF THE TWO WORLD WARS/ THE MEMORIAL STONE WITHIN THIS ENCLOSURE WAS REMOVED TO THE CHURCHYARD/ IN 1960/ THE SEAT WAS PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE/ OF LENHAM BY THE ASHFORD BRANCH OF THE/ REME ASSOCIATION TO COMMEMORATE THEIR CLOSE/ *LINKS WITH THE MEMORIAL WAS PRESENTED/ IN 1977. (*The last sentence is partly illegible).



This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 11 January 2018.

Sources

Websites
Imperial War Museum (Lenham Cross), accessed 8th September 2016 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/16335
Lenham: War Memorial unveiled Issue 1197 Footage of Filmreel , accessed 9th September 2016 from http://www.itnsource.com/shotlist//RTV/1922/09/11/BGT407070719
Private Papers of Major General Sir Arthur Lynden-Bell KCB KCMG DL JP psc, accessed 9th September 2016 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030007694
War Memorials Online, accessed 11 January 2018 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/152718
Other
Bergamar, K, 1997, Discovering Hill Figures, Shire, p32-34.
Myers, A, 2014, Lenham and the Great War, The Hatch Charity, Lenham, p121-122, 129.

Legal

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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].