Etchingham War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Statutory Address:
St Mary and St Nicholas churchyard, High Street, Etchingham, East Sussex, TN19 7AW


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Statutory Address:
St Mary and St Nicholas churchyard, High Street, Etchingham, East Sussex, TN19 7AW

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

Location Description:
East Sussex
Rother (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, unveiled 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

Etchingham War Memorial, which stands in the churchyard of the Parish Church of St Nicholas and St Mary, Etchingham, 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: 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;

* Historic association: with Rudyard Kipling, noted author and poet, and member of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission involved with the commission of war memorials and selection of inscriptions;

* Group value: with the Parish Church of St Nicholas and St Mary (Grade I).


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 Etchingham 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 design was by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA. 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 Etchingham.

A memorial committee was formed following a public meeting held on 21 March 1919, which considered a number of suggestions including a lych gate, a calvary, a brass plate in the church, and a roadside memorial. In the event the memorial cross, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, was unveiled on 28 April 1920 by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling, also a member of the Imperial War Graves Commission, lived nearby in Burwash and paid Baker’s fee. The memorial commemorates 15 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the details of five men who died in that conflict were added.

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).


The Portland stone memorial cross, c3m tall, stands in a rond point in the path that leads from the road to the south porch of the Parish Church of St Nicholas and St Mary (Grade I-listed). The memorial comprises a blind wheel-head cross with an octagonal shaft that stands on a three-tiered plinth which, in turn, stands on a three-stepped, octagonal, base. A reversed sword is incised into the front face of the cross.

An inscription incised into the front face of the foot of the cross shaft reads UNTIL/ THE/ DAY/ DAWN. A further inscription carved in low relief around the upper, circular, tier of the plinth reads AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM. The principal dedicatory inscription incised into the front three faces of the octagonal, middle, tier reads MCMIV TO THE MCMXIX/ GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY/ OF MEN OF ETCHINGHAM WHO GAVE/ UP THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR. The names of the dead are recorded on the remaining plinth faces.

A small, rectangular, stone tablet added to the upper step of the base carries the Second World War dedication, reading IN MEMORY/ OF THOSE WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES/ 1939 – 1945/ (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, 6 June 2017.


Books and journals
Nicholas, Antram, Nikolaus, Pevsner, The Buildings of England Sussex: East, (2012), 377
War Memorials Online, accessed 6 June 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 6 June 2017 from
Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 22 March 1919, p3.
Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 24 July 1920, p2.
Kent and Sussex Courier, 30 April 1920, p9.
Kent and Sussex Courier, 7 May 1920, p3.
Kipling Papers, University of Sussex (KP28/9)
RIBA Drawings Collection: Drawings of Sir Herbert Baker


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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