Kessingland War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
c70m south of St Edmund's Church, The churchyard, Church Road, Kessingland, Suffolk, NR33 7SQ


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Statutory Address:
c70m south of St Edmund's Church, The churchyard, Church Road, Kessingland, Suffolk, NR33 7SQ

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

East Suffolk (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, unveiled 1921, with later additions for the Second World War.

Reasons for Designation

Kessingland 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 unusual monumental war memorial drawing on the Classical architectural style.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Edmund (Grade I-listed).


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 Kessingland as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 52 members of the local community, including VAD Ethel Strowger (d1918, aged 33), who died in the First World War. It was constructed by builder Mr D Guthrie and unveiled on 17 July 1921 by Commander Trelawney RN. The memorial was dedicated by Canon RA Bignold.

The names of 37 parishioners who died during the Second World War, including Margaret Bird (d1942, aged 13), Stella Bird (d1942, aged 39), Muriel Whitlam (d1942, aged 20) and other civilians, were subsequently added to the memorial.


The granite memorial stands in the churchyard, c70m to the south of the Church of St Edmund (Grade I-listed). Approximately 4.5m tall, it is raised on a slight mound, and approached by a path from the south wall of the church. The mound is edged with stones and metal hoops. The complex memorial structure comprises a botonné cross surmounting a substantial colonnaded base.

The cross, ornamented on the front faces of the cross arms with flowers carved in low relief, and the IHS monogram at the centre, has a heavily moulded foot. The foot transitions to the supporting pylon via short corner scrolls, joined by swags carved in relief, and a shallow two-stepped base.

The pylon is in two stages. The upper stage is formed of a large block with a capped cornice, ornamented with egg-and-dart and with beribboned swags carved to the front and rear frieze. The lower stage, approximately twice the depth of the upper, comprises the central block of the memorial. Suggestive of a sarcophagus, it is flanked by consoles to either side, with a deep moulded foot. This stage bears the inscriptions.

The east and west sides of the pylon are flanked by colonnades formed of three Ionic columns supporting semi-circular stonework presenting a moulded architrave, including a course of dentils. The central pylon and its two colonnades stand on a chamfered plinth and single-stepped base, rectangular on plan.

The front face of the pylon’s lower stage carries the commemorated First World War names, in applied metal lettering. The dates 1914 1918 are recorded below on the chamfered plinth. The Second World War names are listed in similar fashion on the rear face, with the dates 1939 1945 on the plinth. The front face of the base bears the inscription "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS".


Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, accessed 18 July 2018 from
Flickr - images and research on Ethel Strowger, accessed 18 July 2018 from[email protected]/31115610151
War Memorials Online, accessed 18 July 2018 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 18 July 2018 from
East Anglian Daily Times, 18 July 1921.


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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