First World War memorial designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, unveiled 1920.
Reasons for Designation
Chicheley War Memorial, which stands at the junction of Hall Lane and Newport Road, 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 First World War;
* Architectural interest: a simple yet elegant memorial cross;
* Architect: by the nationally renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946), who designed a number of memorials at home and abroad;
* Group value: with Home Farmhouse (Grade II-listed).
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. 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 which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Chicheley 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 Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA. It was unveiled on 22 October 1920 by Lady Farrar of Chicheley Hall and dedicated by the Bishop of St Albans. The cross commemorates eight local servicemen who died in the First World War. Lady Farrar was the widow of Sir George Farrar DSO, who died in 1915 in a collision between his car and a train whilst on active service in Namibia (he is commemorated on the memorial). Baker had designed the Farrars’ Johannesburg house, Bedford Court (1903, now St Andrew’s School for Girls).
In his early work for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Baker made a proposal for a cross to stand in all of the Commission’s cemeteries, but a design by Sir Reginald Blomfield was chosen. Although the Commission’s architects were free to use crosses of their own choice within the cemeteries that they designed, the Blomfield cross proved to be the universal choice. Baker, nevertheless, used variants of his cross design for a number of English war memorials, including that at Chicheley.
Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946) was born, and died, in Cobham, his English home. Articled to Arthur Baker in 1881, he was Assistant to Messrs Ernest George and Peto (1886-90) and attended the Royal Academy Schools. During the 1890s he was in South Africa, designing the Prime Ministerial residence ‘Groote Schuur’ and many private residences as well as government buildings following the South African union. From 1912 he collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens in India on New Dehli. From 1917 to 1928 Baker was one of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission principal architects, for whom he designed 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. He was also responsible for four Memorials to the Missing including those to the South Africans at Delville Wood and the Indians at Neuve Chapelle. He designed 24 war memorials in England. During the inter-war years his work at home included South Africa House (Grade II*), Rhodes House (Grade II*) and, his last major public commission, the Bank of England (Grade I).
Chicheley War Memorial stands on the verge to the east side of the junction of Hall Lane and Newport Road, c36m to the south of Home Farmhouse (Grade II). The memorial is framed by a curved hedge to the rear and posts carrying a chain to the front. The c4m tall stone memorial comprises a Latin cross rising from a moulded collar at the top of an octagonal shaft. The moulded foot of the cross shaft stands on a three tiered octagonal base that, in turn, stands on a low two-stepped octagonal plinth.
The principal dedicatory inscription incised around the upper tier of the base reads IN GRATEFUL/ AND PROUD/ MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF/ CHICHELEY/ WHO GAVE THEIR/ LIVES IN THE/ WAR 1914-1919. The names of the fallen are carved in the faces of the middle tier, one name to each face, recorded with the year in which they died.
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, 6 June 2017.