The King's Royal Rifle Corps War Memorial, Winchester


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Winchester Cathedral, Cathedral Close, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LS


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Statutory Address:
Winchester Cathedral, Cathedral Close, 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:


War memorial. Erected 1922, after the First World War, to the design of the sculptor John Tweed with an inscription added after the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

The King's Royal Rifle Corps War Memorial, erected in 1922 at Winchester, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a dramatically positioned memorial and finely crafted bronze statue of a riflemen in full service dress with a Lee-Enfield rifle, poised to survey the surrounding terrain;

* Sculptor: as a memorial by John Tweed, a leading sculptor of his generation and of war memorials in particular with several listed examples to his name; this bronze figure is especially compelling and notable for its realism;

* Historic interest: as a poignant reminder of the considerable sacrifice made by the King's Royal Rifle Corps during the First and Second World Wars;

* Group value: with the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity (Grade I), the scheduled Winchester Cathedral Close, the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Winchester War Memorial (Grade II*), 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. As well as community memorials in villages and towns, regimental and corporate memorials were also raised.One such memorial was raised at Winchester Cathedral, 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 King's Royal Rifle Corps was an infantry rifle regiment of the British Army that was raised in British North America in 1755-56 as the Royal American Regiment during the Seven Years' War. It was recruited from settlers and volunteers from other regiments with the purpose of adopting an ‘Indian system’ of forest warfare with lighter equipment, more mobile and open formations. Additional battalions were raised in 1775 for service in the American Revolutionary War. The regiment served for more than 200 years throughout the British Empire. It was awarded the title of the King's Royal Rifle Corps in 1830 when King George IV ascended to the throne. During the First World War, it was in action from Mons onwards. Initially formed of four regular battalions with two reserve ones, a total of 22 battalions were raised during the course of the war. The regiment saw action on the Western Front, Macedonia and Italy, winning 60 battle honours including seven Victoria Crosses. A total of 12,840 men from the regiment died during the war.

The war memorial, featuring a bronze statue of a rifleman in full service dress with a Lee-Enfield rifle by the sculptor John Tweed, was unveiled on Wednesday 26 May 1922 at a ceremony attended by Prince Henry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Marie Louise. A memorial service took place in the cathedral with a substantial congregation including 1,500 relatives of the members of the regiment who fell in the war. The Bishop of Winchester and cathedral clergy were present and the choir was supplemented by singers from Westminster Abbey and Christ Church, Oxford. The Roll of Honour, enclosed in an oak casket on a stone plinth in the nave, was unveiled by Princess Beatrice and dedicated by the Bishop of Winchester. The war memorial in the Cathedral Yard outside was then also dedicated and wreaths laid in front of it. Each of the battalions of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps that served in the war was represented, as well as the Rifle Brigade, the Royal Air Force, the Hampshire Regiment, and the American Legion, No.1 (London) Post.

In 1966 The King’s Royal Rifle Corps was merged with The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and The Rifle Brigade to form The Royal Green Jackets, a large infantry regiment. By 2007, The Royal Green Jackets had been reduced to two battalions and the regiment was merged with three others to form The Rifles. The Rifles is the largest infantry regiment in the modern British Army and has a regimental headquarters and museum located in Winchester. The city has had a long tradition of training soldiers from the rifle regiments.

The sculptor John Tweed (1869-1933) was born in Glasgow and studied part-time at Glasgow School of Art. He moved to London in 1890 and worked for Hamo Thornycroft, studying at the South London Technical Art School and the Royal Academy Schools. He studied briefly in Paris under Alexandre Falguière. In 1893 he obtained an important portraiture commission through Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker and in 1901 was commissioned to complete the memorial to the first Duke of Wellington in St Paul’s Cathedral, after the death of Alfred Stevens. A close friend of Rodin, he organised the exhibition of Rodin’s sculpture at the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor House, London in 1914. Following the First World War he produced many statues and monuments, a number of which are listed, including: Barnsley War Memorial (Grade II*); the Rifle Brigade War Memorial at Grosvenor Gardens, Westminster (Grade II*); the statue of Lord Kitchener on Horse Guards, Westminster (Grade II); and the statue of Sir John Moore at Shorncliffe Barracks, Folkestone (Grade II).


War memorial. Erected 1922, after the First World War, to the design of the sculptor John Tweed with an inscription added after the Second World War.

MATERIALS: Portland Stone base and pedestal surmounted by a bronze figure.

DESCRIPTION: the war memorial stands about 25m to the north-west of the west front of Winchester Cathedral, within the Cathedral Yard. It comprises a bronze statue surmounting a tapered Portland Stone pedestal and wide square base. The statue is a rifleman of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in full service dress; boots, puttee, uniform, knapsack, ammunition pouches and helmet, holding the barrel of a Lee-Enfield rifle in his right hand, pointing upwards, with the butt resting on the ground. He stands with his left leg forward, left fist clenched, and head facing frontward, as if to survey the terrain ahead of him. On the front (south) side of the pedestal is a simplified version of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps badge (1883-1906): a Maltese Cross, on the top arm of which is a tablet inscribed: PENINSULA, surmounted by a King’s crown. In the centre of the cross is a circle inscribed: THE KING'S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS. Within the circle is a stringed bugle and the figure '60'. Below the bottom arm of the cross is a tablet inscribed: CELER ET AUDAX (Swift and Bold). Beneath the badge is the inscription: TO THE GLORY OF GOD / AND IN MEMORY OF / THE OFFICERS / WARRANT OFFICERS / NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS / AND RIFLEMEN / OF / THE KING'S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES / FOR THEIR KING AND COUNTRY / IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914 - 1918 / AND/ 1939 – 1945.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 29 August 2017.


Forces War Records, accessed 22 May 2017 from
The King's Royal Rifle Association, accessed 22 May 2017 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 29 August 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 22 May 2017 from
‘K.R.R. War Memorial: Unveiling by Royalty at Winchester’, Portsmouth Evening News, 20 May 1922, p8
‘Kings Royal Rifles: War Memorial of the Corps at Winchester’, Portsmouth Evening News, 9 May 1922, p5
‘Rifle Corps Memorial: Unveiling by Royalty at Winchester’, Portsmouth Evening News, 25 May 1922, p4


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

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