First World War memorial, designed by WG Collingwood and unveiled on 11 November 1920, with further names added after the Second World War.
Reasons for Designation
Hawkshead 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 local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: an ornate and striking memorial cross with an impressive composition of finely carved stonework figurative panels and other designs;
* Designer: an excellent example of the work of William Gershom Collingwood informed by his scholarly and artistic expertise studying Norse and Anglican archaeology and early Northumbrian Crosses;
* Sculptor: the cross is a rare example of a war memorial sculpted by a female sculptor, Barbara Collingwood, the daughter of the designer;
* Group value: with the Church of St Michael and All Angels (Grade I), the Sun Inn Public House (Grade II), Hawkshead Town Hall (Grade II) and a sundial 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 Hawkshead 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 designed by William Gershom Collingwood and carved by Barbara Collingwood, his daughter, at the family home. The design was influenced by the Gosforth Cross, an early C10 Anglo-Scandinavian cross at Gosforth in Cumbria (scheduled monument).
Hawkshead War Memorial commemorates 21 local men who died in the First World War, and it was unveiled by Colonel Cowper-Essen on 11 November 1920. In 1921 a recreation ground was added to the memorial scheme. Following the Second World War, the names of those who lost their lives in that conflict were also added. In 2003 the memorial was conserved and new hard landscaping was placed around it.
William Gershom Collingwood (1854–1932) designed several memorials including the cross to John Ruskin at Coniston, and First World War memorials at Grasmere and Coniston amongst others. Collingwood was a pupil of Ruskin’s and had been helping him at Brantwood editing a number of Ruskin's texts. Collingwood’s biography of Ruskin, published in 1893 and rewritten in 1900, became a standard work. In the 1890s Collingwood found his vocation as a painter and also became interested in Lake District history. He joined the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society in 1887 studying Norse and Anglican archaeology in the north, particularly the artistic aspect of it, on which he became widely recognised as the leading authority. His most important work, Northumbrian Crosses of the pre-Norman Age was published in 1927. These interests influenced his 1901 design of Ruskin’s memorial which was in the form of an Anglo-Celtic cross with interlace scrollwork and symbolic panels (Grade II) and his First World War memorial designs. The choice of such crosses for the war memorials on the part of the Cumbrian local authorities reflects the civic commitment to the region’s Scandinavian past. Collingwood’s interlace designs for each memorial are all individual and not repeated. Informed by his scholarly and artistic expertise they are among the most distinguished works that he produced in his career.
Less is known of his daughter, Barbara Collingwood (1887-1961), who was active as a sculptor in the early C20. She was born at Cartmell Fell in 1887. Her address in 1910 was University College Reading, where she was presumably a student. That year she exhibited at the Bristol Academy annual Spring exhibition. She later married Oscar Gnosspelius, a civil engineer. As well as the Hawkshead war memorial, she carved the Otley and Coniston war memorials also designed by her father.
DESCRIPTION: The memorial is located in the churchyard of the Church of St Michael and All Angels (Grade I) and comprises a Celtic-style wheel-head cross. The front face of the cross is decorated with carved Scandinavian interlace designs around a central boss in the cross-head. The cross surmounts a rectangular tapered shaft which also bears Scandinavian interlace designs incorporating the patron saint, St George, defeating the dragon: entangled in the dragon's coils which have turned into interlace, he nevertheless manages to spear its gaping mouth.
Below this on the shaft is the inscription carved in relief in a Celtic-style script which reads IN MEMORY/ OF THE MEN OF/ HAWKSHEAD/ WHO GAVE/ THEIR LIVES/ IN THE WAR/ 1914 – 1918/ (NAMES).
On the rear face of the cross and shaft is similar carved interlace designs incorporating a cross, with an inscription carved in relief in Celtic-style script at the base of the shaft. It reads LET THOSE WHO/ COME AFTER/ SEE TO IT THAT/ THEIR NAMES BE/ NOT FORGOTTEN/ 1939 – 1945/ (NAMES). The sides also are embellished with carved interlace designs. The shaft is set upon a rectangular three-stepped base.
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, 3 July 2017.