Meldon War Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1458498
Date first listed:
28-Aug-2018
Statutory Address:
Outside The Old School House, Meldon, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 3TW

Map

Ordnance survey map of Meldon War Memorial
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Location

Statutory Address:
Outside The Old School House, Meldon, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 3TW

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

District:
Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Meldon
National Grid Reference:
NZ1188483991

Summary

Stone base for a flagpole, commemorating First World War service by parishioners.

Reasons for Designation

Meldon War Memorial, which stands outside the former School House, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* as an eloquent witness to the impact of world events on the local community, and the contribution it made in the First World War.

Architectural interest:

* an unusual First World War memorial comprising the surviving simple yet monumental flagpole base.

Group value:

* with the Church of St John the Baptist (Grade I) and Meldon Village Farmhouse (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.

Nevertheless, a small number of ‘Thankful Villages’ - a term coined by Arthur Mee in 1936 - enjoyed the safe return of all their service personnel from theatres of conflict. More than 50 Thankful Villages have been identified in England and Wales. A number of these have plaques, Rolls of Honour, church windows, and other types of memorial marking the First World War service of parishioners.

Instead of a war memorial commemorating the sacrifice made by men who had died, the people of Meldon raised a flagpole to record their thanks that those who had left the parish to serve in the First World War also all came home. Funds were collected by public subscription, and the memorial was made by Mr Robinson of The Clear House, Meldon. The stone base and timber flagpole were erected outside the former School House (not listed).

A flagpole is an unusual choice for a memorial erected in the 1920s: the majority recorded by the War Memorials Register are post-Second World War. Notable examples include Sheffield’s Grade II*-listed memorial (1925), and flagpoles erected as part of whole schemes such as in the memorial garden of the Grade II-listed Birtley Cenotaph and shelters (1923). Sir Edwin Lutyens notably incorporated flags at a number of his war memorials: in carved and painted stone (such as at Spalding War Memorial, 1922, Grade I), metal (originally at the Civil Service Rifles War Memorial, 1924, Grade II*, replaced with stone); and textile (The Cenotaph, 1920, Grade I).

Meldon’s timber flagpole has since gone but the monumental stone base is still in place.

Details

The memorial stands outside the front wall of the former School House (unlisted), approximately 130m to the north of the Church of St John the Baptist (Grade I-listed) and approximately 75m to the north of Meldon Village Farmhouse (Grade II-listed). It takes the form of a large stone pedestal with a moulded top, standing on a two-stepped circular base. The front of the pedestal is carved in the shape of a shield.

The shield bears the dedicatory inscription, reading ERECTED/ TO/ COMMEMORATE THE VICTORY/ AND/ IN GRATEFUL THANKS/ FOR THE SAFE RETURN/ OF ALL THOSE MEN/ WHO LEFT THE PARISH/ TO SERVE IN/ THE GREAT WAR. The dates 1914 and 1919 are carved to either side of the shield’s base.

Sources

Websites
North East War Memorials Project, accessed 2 July 2018 from http://www.newmp.org.uk/detail.php?contentId=7987

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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