War memorial cross at the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1451838

Date first listed: 09-Feb-2018

Statutory Address: St Thomas of Canterbury churchyard, Parkgate Road, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 4AG


Ordnance survey map of War memorial cross at the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury
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Statutory Address: St Thomas of Canterbury churchyard, Parkgate Road, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 4AG

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

District: Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: SJ4023067208


First World War memorial Calvary cross, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

The war memorial cross which stands in the churchyard of St Thomas’s Church, Chester, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* As an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* A large Calvary cross incorporating the figure of Christ crucified carved in the round with a low relief carving of the Virgin with child.

Group value:

* With the Church of St Thomas and its churchyard wall, gate piers and gates (all 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 St Thomas’s Church, Chester, in the immediate aftermath of the First World War in order to commemorate the dead from the parish of St Oswald and St Thomas of Canterbury. The dates of the Second World War were added after 1945 in order to commemorate those who died in this subsequent conflict. The memorial does not record the names of the dead. However, the church has a record of 30 individuals who died in the two World Wars.


The memorial stands in the grounds of the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury (Grade II), in the northern part of the churchyard aligned to the north-east gate. Standing to a height of approximately 2m, it is a sandstone Calvary cross depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with a hood at the top. The Gothic-style hood incorporates a blind arch with the monogram INRI carved in low relief on a scroll at its base. At the bottom of the cross shaft, rectangular in section, are the words JESU/ MERCY carved in low relief.

The rear of the cross shaft is decorated with an image, carved in low relief, of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms. The cross shaft rises from a rectangular plinth, which stands on a base of two rectangular steps. The front of the plinth bears the inscription in raised lettering + IN MEMORY OF +/ OUR GALLANT DEAD/ 1914 TO 1918/ 1939 TO 1945.


War Memorials Online, accessed 24 October 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/202323/
War Memorials Register, accessed 24 October 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/18209
The Act of Remembrance mass sheet, The Parish of St Oswald and St Thomas Of Canterbury, Chester

End of official listing