First World War peace memorial, erected around 1921.
Reasons for Designation
Delly End Peace Memorial, erected in around 1921 on Delly Green, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as an example of a First World War peace memorial, erected after the signing of the 1918 Armistice, primarily to commemorate peace and the safe return of those who survived the conflict;
* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it made during the First World War.
* as an elegant First World War peace memorial which, although built of modest materials, takes the more unusual form of an open temple.
* for its positive relationship with a number of existing listed buildings surrounding Delly Green, including Hailey Manor and Greystones, both 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.
Delly End Peace Memorial was erected on Delly Green in about 1921 as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community during the First World War, but particularly to commemorate peace at the end of the war and the safe return of those who survived the slaughter. The memorial was paid for by Mrs Phipps, of the adjacent Hailey Manor (listed at Grade, National Heritage List for England 1198737), in grateful thanks (it is said) for the safe return of her two sons and as many as five of her nephews.
In 1920, two years after armistice, an annual thanksgiving service was established at Delly Green to be held on the first Sunday of July each year and paid for by a trust fund established for the purpose. An entry in Witney Gazette, dated 3 July 1920, details the particulars of ‘…The First Annual Thanksgiving Service for God’s great mercy to our Country in giving us victory, will be held on Delly Green…’, with music by Whitney Town Band. The article goes on to state: ‘All are invited to join in the Act of Thanksgiving, and specially those who know from what we have been delivered…’.
It would appear that the Peace Memorial was erected shortly afterward, as a focus for this commemoration and thanksgiving, with the inauguration of the memorial being combined with the second annual peace service on the Green, held on Sunday 3 July 1921. An advert placed in the Witney Gazette ahead of the 1921 annual service refers to the dedication of ‘The Preaching Cross’ by Reverend T H Archer Houblon.
An article published in the Witney Gazette in 1921, after the inauguration, confirms the fund to erect the memorial was endowed by Mrs Phipps and that the memorial is of cement. It further states: '...There are two steps up to the platform at the corners of which are four pillars about 8 feet high, supporting a dome-shaped canopy surmounted by a plain cross. Round the canopy are the words “Glory be to God in the Highest and on Earth peace.” The cross is erected as a thank-offering to God for the victory given to the Allies, and the income of the endowment is to be devoted to the obtaining of the services of a preacher on the first Sunday in July each year to offer thanks to God for peace and to remind people of those who gave their lives for our liberty…’
The annual service continued to be held on the Green until sometime after WW2, when the decision was taken, to hold the service in alternate years in the local church one year and on the Green itself the other year, with the continued participation of the Town Band.
Annually - in the summer, and completely separate from Remembrance Day - a 'peace service' is still held around the memorial (2018).
Delly End Peace Memorial, erected around 1921, stands prominently on the northern end of a triangular village green, known as Delly Green.
DESCRIPTION: the memorial takes the form of an open temple, square on plan, standing on a two-stepped base, with four Tuscan columns rising to a plain frieze and heavily projecting cornice, above which is a set-back half spherical dome, surmounted by a plain Latin cross.
It is believed that around the top of the memorial are the words “GLORY BE TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH PEACE”
There are no other inscriptions on the memorial.