First World War memorial, designed by William Richard Lethaby and unveiled on 17 October 1920, with further names added after the Second World War and later conflicts.
Reasons for Designation
Eversley War Memorial 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 community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a combination design of a simple yet affecting Portland stone memorial and oak cross;
* Designer: by the well-known Arts and Crafts designer William Richard Lethaby;
* Group value: with the Church of St Mary (Grade I) and the tomb of Charles Kingsley in the churchyard (Grade II).
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, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.
One such memorial was raised at Eversley 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 impetus for the erection of the Eversley War Memorial came from the Vestry of St Mary’s Church, Eversley. The siting was determined by a vote of the parishioners. The rector and churchwardens then applied to the Bishop of Winchester for a Faculty based on a simple drawing entitled ‘Eversley churchyard war memorial.’
The Faculty granted for the memorial was for ‘the erection in the Parish Churchyard of an Oaken Cross with a Stone tablet containing a Roll of names as a War Memorial.’ The oak cross was a significant part of the memorial as the memorial stone has no emblem of the cross on it, the oak cross being that emblem, uniting the two parts of the memorial. Once agreed with the Winchester Diocesan War Memorial Committee, Professor W R Lethaby designed the memorial stone.
William Richard Lethaby (1857-1931) had connections to the Eversley area through Eric Newton (1856-1922) who was living just a few miles away in Hartley Wintney in 1920. They had worked together in Norman Shaw's London office. There Lethaby had worked on such now famous buildings as New Scotland Yard, London and Cragside, Northumberland. In 1889 he set up his own practice in Bloomsbury. He was drawn into the Arts and Crafts circles of William Morris and Philip Webb, whose biography he would eventually write, and together with Newton helped found the Art Workers' Guild, later the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 1900 he was appointed professor of the school of ornament and design at the Royal College of Art. He was buried with his wife at Hartley Wintney.
Lethaby's contribution to the war memorial project was his sympathetic refinement of the design of the memorial stone complementing the local Arts and Crafts woodworking skills. Augustus Gibbs (1855-1927), the village wheelwright, undertaker, sexton and churchwarden at St Mary’s, built and erected the cross.
The memorial was dedicated 17 October 1920 to the 31 local servicemen who fell in the First World War and the inscription was undertaken by Messrs Pool and Sons of Hartley Wintney. A further inscription was added by Sculptured Memorials Ltd following the Second World War to the 13 local servicemen who fell in that conflict. A single name has also been added for the Korean War.
The cross had become unsafe and was replaced by Eversley Parish Council in 2012.
MATERIALS: oak cross, Portland stone memorial.
DESCRIPTION: the memorial is located within the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Eversley. It consists of a large oak cross placed on a mound with a simple headstone on a single step with an additional rectangular stone placed in front at its base.
The inscription reads: TO THOSE WHO DIED IN THE WAR/ (NAMES)/ 1914 1919/ IN THANKFUL REMEMBRANCE.
On one side is a further inscription which reads: O SAVIOUR/ WHO DIDST/ DIE FOR ALL/ REMEMBER IN/ THY MERCY/ THOSE WHO/ DIED FOR US. Underneath is a carved poppy emblem and below is: KOREA 1951 (NAME). A palm frond, a symbol of valour and victory, is carved on the other side.
The additional stone is inscribed with the names of the fallen from the Second World War followed by 1939 1945.