First World War Memorial designed by Eadred Lutyens.
Reasons for Designation
Great Amwell War Memorial, designed by Eadred Lutyens, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* it is 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;
* it has close associations with the architect’s family as his two brothers are commemorated on the memorial.
* it is a well-detailed, simple yet elegant memorial;
* it is an apparently unique variation on the standard memorial designed by Eadred’s uncle, the nationally renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens
* it has strong group value with numerous designated assets, notably the Grade II listed Amwell Grove where the architect had lived with his parents, which is situated in a Grade II registered late C18 and early C19 picturesque landscape.
The concept of commemorating war dead did not develop to any great extent until towards the end of the C19. Previously, memorials were rare and were mainly dedicated to individual officers, or sometimes regiments. The first large-scale erection of war memorials dedicated to the ordinary soldier followed the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, the first major war following reforms to the British Army which led to regiments being recruited from local communities and with volunteer soldiers. However, it was the aftermath of the First World War that was the great age of memorial building, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and 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.
The war memorial in Great Amwell was dedicated on 17 April 1921 by General Page Croft. It was designed by Eadred John Tennant Lutyens (1891-1975), the nephew of Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) who was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War Sir Edwin’s reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. Eadred designed the memorial at Great Amwell whilst working in his uncle’s office. It is a variant of Sir Edwin’s standard cross seen on many of his war memorials, for example at Ashwell in Hertfordshire (Grade II). Eadred later practiced as an architect in Hertfordshire and built a house for himself at Digswell, in about 1929, but it has been demolished. He has one listed building to his name.
The names of Sir Edwin’s two nephews, Capt C G Lutyens and Major L G Lutyens, are among the fallen commemorated on the Great Amwell memorial. They were the brothers of Eadred who had lived with his parents at Amwell Grove in Great Amwell. His father Charles B Lutyens was Sir Edwin’s brother.
The names of seven men who fell in the Second World War were later added to the memorial. In 2014 works were carried out to improve the legibility of the inscriptions.
First World War Memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
EXTERIOR: the memorial is in the form of a standard Lutyens War Cross with a tapering shaft which rests on a stepped plinth supported by a two-stepped base.
The north face of the foot of the cross shaft bears the inscription TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF GREAT AMWELL/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 1919/ 1939 1945. The north face of the plinth records the names of twelve men who fell in the First World War followed by THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE. More First World War names are recorded on the east and west faces of the plinth. The south face bears the inscription SONS OF THIS PLACE LET THIS OF YOU BE SAID/ THAT YOU WHO LIVE ARE WORTHY OF YOUR DEAD/ THESE GAVE THEIR LIVES THAT YOU WHO LIVE MAY REAP/ A RICHER HARVEST ERE YOU FALL ASLEEP/ GREAT WAR 1939 – 1945/ followed by seven names.
The memorial stands on a square paved area which is set into the embankment. It is approached by a flight of six steps, contemporary with, and integral to, the memorial.