Old Bletchley War Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1458159
Date first listed:
08-Aug-2018
Statutory Address:
c130m south of St Mary's Church, Church Green Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6DJ

Map

Ordnance survey map of Old Bletchley War Memorial
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

Statutory Address:
c130m south of St Mary's Church, Church Green Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6DJ

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

District:
Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
West Bletchley
National Grid Reference:
SP8625333658

Summary

First World War memorial, unveiled 1920, with later additions for Second World War and the conflict in Afghanistan.

Reasons for Designation

Old Bletchley War Memorial, which stands c130m south of St Mary’s Church, 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 and C21.

Architectural interest:

* an imposing granite war memorial obelisk, designed by Bletchley UDC Surveyor John Chadwick.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Mary (Grade I-listed), Bletchley Rectory Cottages and Museum (Grade II*) and The Rectory and Rectory Stables (Grade II).

History

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 Bletchley as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 32 members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

Bletchley Urban District Council (UDC) agreed that each of the three Parishes within its administrative area (Central Bletchley, Old Bletchley, and Water Eaton and Simpson) should construct its own memorial. In March 1919 the UDC received an approach from some parishioners of Old Bletchley to erect a small memorial on the Green close to the Church of St Mary (Grade I-listed). Sir Herbert Leon (Chairman of the UDC) felt that the site was too small, but it was agreed to consider the matter further.

A meeting held on 12 May noted that the proposed location would require the consent of Bletchley UDC which might be difficult to obtain, so the meeting chose an alternative nearby site consisting of part of the Rectory orchard: this had been offered by the vicar. However, a meeting a week later of a large and “thoroughly representative” audience chose the Green instead.

In July 1919 the local newspaper reported that the scheme was proceeding. In December that year the cost was confirmed to be £200. Designed by the UDC Surveyor Major John Chadwick, the memorial was unveiled on 13 November 1920 by the Bishop of Buckingham.

Following the Second World War, the names of 18 local servicemen who died in that conflict were added to the memorial. In 2010 the name of a soldier who died whilst on service in Afghanistan was also added.

John Chadwick (b1865 in Petersfield, d1943) was appointed as Surveyor to Bletchley Urban District Council in 1895. Under his direction, new areas of Bletchley were built and he also designed the Council Offices and Bletchley Road Schools in Fenny Stratford. He was granted a leave of absence to serve in the First World War, attaining the rank of Major, and returned to his role as Surveyor in 1919 until his resignation in 1935. His son, Lieutenant Douglas Gordon Chadwick, died from wounds in France in 1916 and is commemorated on Old Bletchley War Memorial. Chadwick also designed Central Bletchley War Memorial.

Details

The c4m tall granite memorial stands on the Green at the junction of Church Green Road and Rickley Lane. It is in close proximity to the Church of St Mary (Grade I-listed), Bletchley Rectory Cottages and Museum (Grade II*) and The Rectory and Rectory Stables (Grade II). It takes the form of a rough-hewn obelisk standing on a pedestal, square on plan and dying back to the obelisk, which stands on a deep stepped base. The top of the obelisk has a finer finish, cut back to reveal a Greek cross in plan and dressed to define a Latin cross on all four faces.

The front (south-east) faces of the obelisk and pedestal are more finely finished, carrying the inscriptions. The commemorated First World War names are listed on the obelisk. Below, on the pedestal, the principal dedicatory inscription reads TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND THE ETERNAL MEMORY OF THOSE/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ TO SAVE THEIR COUNTRY/ AND PRESERVE LIBERTY, IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1918/ YE THAT LIVE ON/ MID ENGLISH PASTURES GREEN/, REMEMBER US, AND THINK/ WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

An inset panel to the south-west face of the obelisk carries the commemorated Second World War names with, on the pedestal, a panel for the dates 1939 – 1945. The details of the solder who died in Afghanistan are recorded on the north-east face of the obelisk, with, in a panel on the pedestal, IN MEMORIAM.

Sources

Websites
War Memorials Online, accessed 1 May 2018 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/146759/
War Memorials Register, accessed 1 May 2018 from https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/8249
Other
Bedfordshire Times and Independent, 16 May 1919.
North Bucks Times and County Observer, 4,18 March 1919; 20 May 1919; 29 July 1919; 18 November 1919; 9 December 1919; 16 November 1920.
The Bucks Herald, 20 November 1920.

Legal

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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