Clifton War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
St Philip and St James' Churchyard, Shipton Road, Clifton, York, North Yorkshire


Ordnance survey map of Clifton War Memorial
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Statutory Address:
St Philip and St James' Churchyard, Shipton Road, Clifton, York, North Yorkshire

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

York (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, unveiled 23 April 1920, designed by Walter Brierley of Brierley and Rutherford Architects and sculpted by George Milburn.

Reasons for Designation

Clifton War Memorial, which is situated in St Philip and St James’ 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 the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the First World War.

Architectural interest:

* an elegant cross fleurée memorial demonstrating fine craftsmanship in the carved details to the cross; * designed by noted architect Walter Brierley.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Philip and St James and the associated churchyard wall, railings and gate (all Grade II-listed), as well as being in close proximity to a number of other Grade II-listed buildings.


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 Clifton 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 proposal to erect a war memorial for Clifton was first discussed in a parishioners meeting held on 9 December 1918, where it was suggested that the memorial be erected on Clifton Green. However, it was later agreed that the memorial should be sited in the parish churchyard facing the road. Designed by the architect, Walter Brierley of Brierley and Rutherford Architects, York, the memorial was sculpted by George W Milburn, also of York, and erected by S Pickering of Clifton, builders. The memorial was unveiled on 23 April 1920 by Lieutenant-General Sir Ivor Maxse and dedicated by Reverend C T Alexander. The memorial cost of over £200 with the money raised via public subscription and commemorates the 48 local servicemen who died in the First World War.

The memorial received grant funding from the War Memorials Trust in 2016 for repair and conservation work.

Walter Henry Brierley (1862-1926) was known as the Yorkshire Lutyens. He designed over 300 buildings between 1885 and 1926. These include the York board schools, a number of public buildings and a series of large houses including, Bishopsbarns (Grade II*-listed) and Goddards (Grade I-listed). Brierley also designed a number of war memorials including the Grade II-listed Hamsterley Colliery War Memorial. He went into partnership with James Hervey Rutherford in 1918.


First World War Memorial, 1920.

DESCRIPTION: Clifton War Memorial is located in the churchyard to the south-west of the Grade II-listed Church of St Philip and St James and adjacent to the churchyard wall, railings and gate, which are also Grade II-listed. A number of other Grade II-listed buildings are also in the vicinity of the memorial.

The memorial is of Portland stone and takes the form of an ornamental cross fleurée, which incorporates trefoil detail between the cross arms and an inset lozenge panel to the centre of the cross with a floral motif carved in shallow relief. This crowns a tapering, octagonal shaft with a moulded collar and square foot with inverted chamfer stops. The shaft rises from a tapering, four-sided plinth with a chamfered foot, which surmounts a single-step, square base. Each face of the plinth has an inset fielded panel containing the inscription or names in incised lettering, painted black.

The main inscription is on the south-west face of the plinth and reads THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED/ BY THE INHABITANTS OF/ CLIFTON AS A LASTING/ TRIBUTE TO THE BRAVERY/ AND DEVOTION OF THE/ MEN OF THE PARISH WHO/ FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-1919 WHOSE NAMES/ ARE INSCRIBED HEREON. Directly below to the foot of the plinth are the dates 1914 – 1919. The names of the 48 servicemen who died are recorded on the remaining three faces of the plinth, including their rank and regiment.


Dictionary of Scottish Architects, accessed 05 March 2018 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 27 February 2018 from
War Memorials Trust, accessed 05 March 18 from
‘Clifton War Memorial. Unveiling Ceremony.’, 1920 (Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York PR Y/PJC 140)
Minutes from Parishioner and Committee Meetings in December 1920 (Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York PR Y/PJC 140)
'Proposed War Memorial, Clifton, York' Plan, June 1919, (Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York AB/8/105/2)
Receipt for Clifton War Memorial from George W Milburn and Son, 4 May 1920 (Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York PR Y/PJC 140)
Receipt from S. Pickering, Builder and Contractor, June 1920 (Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York PR Y/PJC 140)


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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