Spexhall War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
The churchyard, St Peter's Church, Church Lane, Spexhall, Suffolk, IP19 0RQ


Ordnance survey map of Spexhall War Memorial
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Statutory Address:
The churchyard, St Peter's Church, Church Lane, Spexhall, Suffolk, IP19 0RQ

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

Waveney (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial cross designed by HW Sarel LRIBA, unveiled 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

Spexhall War Memorial, which stands in the 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 conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* an elegant Portland stone cross by Henry Walter Sarel LRIBA.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Peter (Grade II*) and Spexhall House (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.

One such memorial was raised at Spexhall as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by nine members of the local community who died in the First World War. It was designed by HW Sarel LRIBA and erected by Mr Fred Barber, who built war memorials in several nearby parishes including those at Chediston (Grade II) and Halesworth. The memorial was unveiled on 14 November 1920 by Major-General Sir Ronald Lane. The names of two parishioners who died during the Second World War were subsequently added to the memorial.

Henry Walter Sarel LRIBA (1873-1941), architect, was Articled to Peter Paul Pugin from 1891. He formed his own practice in 1895. Sarel designed buildings including The Old Rectory, Compton (1915, Grade II), additions to the C16 Spexhall Manor (1908, Grade II), the 1913 re-modelling of Croft Castle (Grade I) and re-modelling c1935 of the Grade I-listed Godmersham Park. He was also responsible for the war memorial at Rollesby (Grade II).


The Portland stone memorial stands in the churchyard, c10m to the north of the Church of St Peter (Grade II*-listed). Approximately 4.3m tall, it comprises a Latin cross-head rising from the simply moulded collar of a slender cross-shaft, octagonal in section. The moulded cross-shaft foot stands on the raked top of an octagonal pedestal. The pedestal’s base, in two stages, stands on a three-stepped base, circular on plan. The inscriptions are arranged around the pedestal.

The principal dedicatory inscription, in applied metal lettering, to the east face of the pedestal, reads THE/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD/ ANNO DOMINI/ 1914–1919. The names of the nine First World War fallen, with their rank and regiment, corps, or Service, are listed in two groups, one on each face to either side of the main inscription. On the west face the dedication continues THIS CROSS/ WAS ERECTED BY THE/ PARISHIONERS OF SPEXHALL/ IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE/ OF THOSE WHO DIED TO/ SAVE THEIR COUNTRY.

The dates 1939 – 1945 are incised into the east face of the upper stage of the pedestal’s base. The names and Service of the two Second World War dead are recorded to each face either side.


Books and journals
Brodie, Antonia (ed.), Directory of British Architects, 1834-1914: Vol. 2 (L-Z), (2001), 539
War Memorials Online, accessed 25 August 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/189746/
War Memorials Register, accessed 25 August 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/5028
Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury, 19 November 1920


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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