Potterne War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Statutory Address:
St Mary's churchyard, Church Corner, Potterne, Wiltshire, SN10 5NF


Ordnance survey map of Potterne War Memorial
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1445827 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Jun-2019 at 00:37:01.


Statutory Address:
St Mary's churchyard, Church Corner, Potterne, Wiltshire, SN10 5NF

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

Location Description:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, unveiled 1921, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

Potterne War Memorial, St Mary's churchyard, 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 in Portland stone;

* 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 the Church of St Mary (Grade I) and a number of churchyard monuments listed at 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. 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, designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, was raised at Potterne as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. 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 Potterne.

The memorial was unveiled by the Bishop of Sherborne in June 1921, in commemoration of 26 local servicemen who had died. Following the Second World War the names of 13 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 tall Portland stone memorial stands outside the Church of St Mary (Grade I), in the north-east corner of the churchyard. It consists of a blind wheel-head cross with an octagonal shaft and moulded foot, standing on a plinth. The plinth comprises an octagonal drum with a shallow circular head. The plinth stands on a three-stepped, octagonal, base, the uppermost step being deeper than the two lower steps.

The inscription SEE YE TO IT THAT THESE SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN is carved in relief around the circular head of the plinth. The principal dedicatory inscription on the front face of the base reads TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN HONOUR OF/ POTTERNE MEN WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES IN/ THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1919. The names of the fallen are recorded on other faces of the plinth. A rectangular bronze plaque fixed to the upper step of the base reads ALSO OF THOSE WHO FELL IN THE WORLD WAR/ 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, 5 October 2017.


War Memorials Online, accessed 6 June 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/241894
War Memorials Register, accessed 5 October 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/55708
The Western Gazette, 24 June 1921, p8.


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].