Cossall Waterloo Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Churchyard of St Catherine's Church, Church Lane, Cossall, Nottingham, NG16 2RW


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Statutory Address:
Churchyard of St Catherine's Church, Church Lane, Cossall, Nottingham, NG16 2RW

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

Broxtowe (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Waterloo memorial erected in 1877.

Reasons for Designation

The Cossall Waterloo memorial, erected in 1877, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a commemoration of three local soldiers who fought at the Battle of Waterloo which marked the final defeat of Napoleon and the end of the Peninsula Wars. The most famous of the soldiers, John Shaw, became celebrated throughout the country for his strength and bravery in battle;

* Architectural interest: it has been thoughtfully executed, suitably bearing the accoutrements of the Life Guardsman, and retains a clearly legible inscription;

* Rarity: it is a rare example of a Waterloo memorial of which there are less than twenty examples on the List;

* Group value: it has group value with the Grade II* listed Church of St Catherine and the First World War memorial, also located in the graveyard.


The memorial in Cossall churchyard is dedicated to three local men, Corporal John Shaw and Richard Waplington of the Life Guards, and Thomas Wheatley of the Light Dragoon Guards, all of whom fought at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. It is thought that Richard Waplington was born in Cossall in 1787. He worked in a local colliery until he enlisted in the Life Guards with Shaw in 1807 and died at Waterloo. Thomas Wheatley was born in Cossall Marsh in 1795 and became an apprenticed stocking weaver before enlisting in the 23rd Light Dragoon Guards. He survived Waterloo, returning home to Cossall and working in the blacksmith's forge at the Babbington Colliery Company. The Waterloo memorial may have been placed above his grave.

Out of the three men, John Shaw is the most celebrated. He was born on a farm between Cossall and Wollaton in 1789 and is thought to have joined the 2nd Life Guards at Goose Fair in 1807 when he was eighteen. According to Bailey's Annals of Nottinghamshire, Shaw was a big man and extremely strong, and his exploits during the battle of Waterloo ensured his posthumous fame. John Keegan's book The Face of the Battle provides a reference to Shaw in a letter from Cornet Gape of the Greys to his mother following the battle: 'The men were only too impetuous, nothing could stop them, they all separated, each man fought by himself; and the famous Corporal Shaw of the Life Guards certainly sought out opponents – he was very conspicuous dealing deadly blows all around him.' Exactly how Shaw fell is unclear but he was buried at La Haye Sainte the day after Waterloo. The poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott was one of the Corporal's most vocal admirers and he had a plaster cast made of Shaw's skull which is presently on display in the Horse Guards Museum in London. He immortalised Shaw in one of his poems with the lines: ‘Nor 'mongst her humbler sons shall/ Shaw e'er die,/ Immortal deeds defy mortality.’ In 1840, twenty five years after Waterloo, Shaw’s deeds were still being celebrated by Hatty's Circus Royal which held a performance by a Mr Wilkinson giving his: 'celebrated impersonation of Shaw, The Life Guard's Man. Wherein he will depict the manly Prowess and Death of that individual at the Battle of Waterloo!! Dealing death around to his numerous foes, in nearly his own expiring struggles.'

On June 3rd 1875 the Ilkeston Pioneer reported that a committee had been formed to raise funds for a tribute to the three men. The sum of over £100 was raised in a very short space of time with contributions from HRH The Duke of Cambridge and various dignitaries of the district, including Earl Cowper, Earl Manvers and Lord Middleton. On 18th June 1877 Lancelot Rolleston, High Sheriff of Nottingham, unveiled the monument, regaling the crowd with a patriotic description of Shaw's life and deeds.


Waterloo memorial erected in 1877.

MATERIALS: stone and white marble.

PLAN: the memorial is located in the churchyard of St Catherine’s Church.

EXTERIOR: the memorial rests on a rectangular stone base and a stepped, chamfered square platform of white marble. Upon this rests an octagonal column of white marble which is encircled by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a carved leaf finial. At the base of the memorial, also in white marble, is a carved plumed helmet, breastplate and crossed sabres of a Life Guardsman. The plinth bears the following inscription: WATERLOO / THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED/ TO THE MEMORY OF/ JOHN SHAW &/ RICHARD WAPLINGTON,/ OF THE/ LIFE GUARDS,/ AND/ THOMAS WHEATLEY,/ OF THE/ LIGHT DRAGOON GUARDS,/ WHO LEFT THEIR NATIVE HOME/ IN DEFENCE OF THEIR COUNTRY,/ THE TWO/ FORMER GLORIOUSLY/ FELL AT WATERLOO, THE LATTER/ RETURNED, AND LIES BURIED IN/ THIS CHURCH/ YARD/ VALOUR.

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, 22 November 2017.


Southwell and Nottingham Church History Project , accessed 23 January 2017 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 3 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 22 November 2017 from
Waterloo: the Cossall Monument, The Thoroton Society of Nottingham , accessed 23 January 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.

End of official listing

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