Matfen War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
c90m north of Holy Trinity Church, Village Green, Matfen, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, NE20 0RP


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Statutory Address:
c90m north of Holy Trinity Church, Village Green, Matfen, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, NE20 0RP

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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

Matfen War Memorial, which stands on the village green, 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 sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20; * Architectural interest: an elegant cross decorated with carved interlace patterns, in the Celtic style; * Groups value: with numerous Grade II-listed buildings around the village green.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country. 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 Matfen 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 cross was unveiled on 1 May 1920 by Lt-Col Sir Percy Wilkinson and dedicated by the vicar, Reverend H Doudney. Made by William Cresswell of Hexham, the memorial commemorates 22 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War a further three names of men who died in that conflict were added.

William Creswell of Hexham, stone mason, was also responsible for the freestanding war memorial at Hexham (Grade II-listed), and for war memorials in the village hall, Langley-on-Tyne, and in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Hexham.


The memorial stands at the east end of the village green in an enclosed area, in close proximity to a number of Grade II-listed buildings, including the C19 drinking fountain and the Church of the Holy Trinity. It takes the form of a tall Celtic cross. The front face of the wheel-head is ornamented with interlace patterns carved in relief and a central hemispherical boss. The tapering cross shaft rises from a small pedestal, rectangular on plan, that stands on a three-stepped base.

The principal dedicatory inscription on the front face of the pedestal reads: TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THE MEN/ OF THIS PARISH WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR/ KING AND COUNTRY IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 – 1918/ (4 NAMES). The remaining names are inscribed on the two side faces of the pedestal.

To the rear, the Second World War dedication reads: GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS/ THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE/ FOR HIS FRIENDS./ 1939 – 1945./ (3 NAMES).

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, 9 February 2017.


North East War Memorials Project, accessed 19/08/2016 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 9 February 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 9 February 2017 from


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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