The Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Winchester War Memorial
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- The Close, Great Minster Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LS
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- Statutory Address:
- The Close, Great Minster Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LS
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Winchester (District Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- 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
The Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Winchester War Memorial, which stands in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, 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 dramatically-positioned memorial, with structural elements skilfully formulated for the falling contour of the site;
* 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: incorporating a stone from the ruined Ypres Cloth Hall, linking the memorial to an iconic building of the Western Front campaign;
* Design: an elegant memorial cross of a type used elsewhere in England by the architect, incorporating symbols for England and France, combined with heraldic devices and bronze wreaths;
* Group value: with the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity (Grade I), the scheduled Winchester Cathedral Close, and numerous listed buildings in the vicinity.
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 Winchester as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by those from the county, and the city, who lost their lives in the First World War.
On 29 July 1918 a meeting chaired by the Earl of Selborne approved plans prepared by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA for a gatehouse accompanied with either a Celtic cross or menhir on the boundary of the Cathedral precincts, on the western axis of the Cathedral, to act as a memorial for the County of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: an appeal was launched to raise £20,000. There was determined opposition to the location of the memorial from the citizens of Winchester, as a result of which the original plan was scrapped. Having first considered an alternative scheme for a roadway from Southgate Street (which was part of an earlier plan by Sir Christopher Wren), it was subsequently agreed to build a gateway and cross at the northern entrance to the cathedral precincts instead. This proposal was approved at a meeting on 17 September 1920.
Nevertheless, the fundraising proved insufficient and revised plans for a cross only, on the first site, were reported as agreed in the Hampshire Advertiser of 3 June 1921. In his early work for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Sir Herbert 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 Winchester Cathedral.
The contractor was Messrs Holloway and Son, who also built Sir Edwin Lutyens’ Southampton Cenotaph (Grade I). A stone from Ypres Cloth Hall was incorporated in the structure. The memorial was unveiled on 31 October 1921 by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Major-General Seely MP, and dedicated by the Dean of the cathedral. Following the Second World War inscriptions were added to commemorate losses in that conflict.
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 stands in Winchester Cathedral Close outside the west end of the Cathedral (Grade I-listed). Viewed from the west looking east, the memorial cross is framed dramatically by the cathedral’s great west window. Either side of the memorial, stone steps lead down to the lower forecourt immediately in front of the cathedral’s western entrances.
The tall memorial cross comprises a wheel-head cross rising from a moulded collar on an octagonal cross shaft. The circlet of the wheel-head is formed by roses and lilies (representing England and France) that trail down the Latin cross head to the top of the shaft. The cross shaft ends in a moulded foot, around the top of which are carved the coats of arms of Winchester City, the Hampshire Regiment, Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight. The west face of the bottom of the cross shaft is inscribed 1914/ +/ 1919, whilst the east face is inscribed 1939/ +/ 1945.
The cross shaft stands on a two-stage base, octagonal in plan. The upper stage comprises an octagonal drum with a shallow circular head. The inscription 1914 1919 HE SHALL DELIVER THEIR SOULS FROM FALSEHOOD AND WRONG: AND DEAR SHALL THEIR BLOOD BE IN HIS SIGHT is carved in relief around the circular head. The inscriptions to faces of the upper stage include:
(west face) TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN/ PROUD AND GRATEFUL MEMORY/ OF FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY/ CITIZENS OF WINCHESTER/ WHO UPHELD UNDER KING/ GEORGE V THE TRADITIONS/ OF SERVICE AND SACRIFICE/ HANDED DOWN FROM THE/ DAYS OF KING ALFRED
(east face) TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND/ IN PROUD AND GRATEFUL / MEMORY OF THE UNCOUNTED/ HOST FROM HAMPSHIRE AND THE/ ISLE OF WIGHT WHO DIED FOR/ ENGLAND IN THE GREAT WAR/ WHEN SERVING IN THE NAVY/ THE MERCANTILE MARINE THE/ ARMY AND THE AIR FORCE/ BE MINDFUL OF THEM O LORD/ AND GRANT TO THEIR CHILDREN/ THE SAME FAITHFULNESS
The base of this stage is inscribed AND OF THOSE WHO SO FREELY GAVE THEIR LIVES 1939-1945 REMEMBER ALSO THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO DIED 1939-1945
The lower stage of the base carries the structure from the highest step to the level of the forecourt below. On this stage’s east face the First and Second World War dedications to the Hampshire Regiment read 1914-1919/ TO SEVEN THOUSAND FIVE/ HUNDRED AND FORTY-ONE OF THE/ REGULAR, MILITIA, TERRITORIAL/ & SERVICE BATTALIONS OF THE/ HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT/ WHO DIED IN FLANDERS FRANCE/ ITALY RUSSIA, MACEDONIA/ PALESTINE EGYPT MESOPOTAMIA/ PERSIA INDIA AND SERBIA/ THE DARDANELLES OR WERE/ LOST AT SEA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN/ 1939-1945/ TWO THOUSAND & NINETY FOUR/ DIED ON LAND SEA AND IN THE AIR
To either side of that inscription, blocks of four stages dying back to the uppermost stage extend from the base into the forecourt. Each block carries a large bronze wreath laid on top of the uppermost stage. Small roses carved in low relief ornament the stage below. Inscriptions on the south-east block read:
(east face) TO SEVENTY FOUR/ OF THE HAMPSHIRE/YEOMANRY CARABINIERS
(north face) TO THREE HUNDRED/ AND EIGHTY SIX OF THE/ ROYAL ENGINEERS/ AND THE HAMPSHIRE/ ROYAL ARTILLERY
Inscriptions on the north-east block read:
(south face) TO FORTY EIGHT/ OF THE/ ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS/ AND THE HAMPSHIRE/ ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
(east face) TO SEVEN HUNDRED/ AND THIRTY SEVEN OF/ HMS HAMPSHIRE SUNK BY/ A MINE OFF THE ORKNEY/ ISLANDS JUNE 5TH 1916
In addition to providing surfaces for these inscriptions, the two blocks frame a section of the lowest step in the forecourt, providing a sheltered space for the placing of wreaths and floral tributes. The surface in front of the memorial, within this sheltered space, incorporates the Ypres Cloth Hall stone. This is carved with a cross of Lorraine and Ypres.
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
Pevsner, N, Bullen, M, Crook, J, Hubbuck, R, The Buildings of England: Hampshire: Winchester and the North, (2010), 625
War Memorials Online, accessed 6 June 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/188450
War Memorials Register, accessed 6 June 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/21927
Hampshire Advertiser, 14 August 1920, p6
Hampshire Advertiser, 16 August 1919, p2
Hampshire Advertiser, 2 July 1921, p6
Hampshire Advertiser, 2 November 1918, p2
Hampshire Advertiser, 20 September 1919, p3
Hampshire Advertiser, 22 October 1921, p2
Hampshire Advertiser, 27 August 1921, p6
Hampshire Advertiser, 28 September 1918, p4
Hampshire Advertiser, 3 August 1918, p5
Hampshire Advertiser, 3 June 1921, p3
Hampshire Advertiser, 5 November 1921, p7
Hampshire Advertiser, 6 September 1919, p8
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