High Hesket War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
St Mary's Churchyard, High Hesket, Cumbria, CA4 0JZ


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Statutory Address:
St Mary's Churchyard, High Hesket, Cumbria, CA4 0JZ

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

Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, 1920, with Second World War additions.

Reasons for Designation

High Hesket War Memorial, erected 1920, 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 two World Wars.

Architectural interest: * a well-executed and handsome memorial, employing good quality design and craftsmanship, taking the form of a Latin cross, raised on a pedestal with martial carvings in relief; * sculpted by Messrs Beattie and Co of Carlisle, a well-known and prolific Cumberland monumental sculptor and mason.

Group value: * the memorial has a spatial group value with the Grade II*-listed Church of St Mary, in whose churchyard it is located.


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 High Hesket, as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by nine members of the local community, who lost their lives in the First World War.

A memorial committee to oversee the design and the building of the war memorial for the Parish of Hesket was established in May 1919, with Mr T Watson acting as the secretary. The committee chose a design by stone masons and sculptors Messrs Beattie & Co of Carlisle, who were responsible for many war memorials in the north of England and in Scotland, some of which are Grade II listed. It was erected in 1920, within the churchyard of the listed Grade II* Church of St Mary (National Heritage List for England: 1326696) at a cost of £147 10s, which was raised by voluntary subscription. The monument was intentionally placed in a conspicuous position adjacent to the churchyard gate, where it would not only act as a focal point of remembrance, but also as a reminder of loss to travellers on the main Penrith to Carlisle road. It was unveiled and dedicated by the Reverend J G Leonard, vicar of Raughton Head on 25 July 1920, at an open air service conducted by Reverend J Wilson that was attended by over 1,000 people. Following the Second World War, the names of an additional six men who fell in that conflict were added to the memorial. Unusually, the inscription uses the term '2nd Great War'. The carved martial symbol of a sheathed sword and the rough-hewn base to the cross, are typical features of memorials produced by Messrs Beattie & Co.


First World War memorial, 1920, with Second World War additions.

MATERIALS: Aberdeen granite.

DESCRIPTION: High Hesket war memorial is located within the churchyard of the Church of St Mary, prominently situated to the right of the entrance, easily seen from the former main road from Penrith to Carlisle. It takes the form of an ashlar Latin cross more than 3m tall, with a carved laurel wreath tied with ribbons at the intersection, atop a rough-hewn base, raised on a pedestal, with a two-stepped plinth that displays a carved sheathed sword and scabbard on the bottom step. The rough-hewn base of the cross has an ashlar scroll cartouche that reads: "THEY REST/ FROM THEIR/ LABOURS"/ + . The ashlar pedestal has a moulded cornice; the inscription on the north panel reads: IN/ PROUD AND AFFECTIONATE MEMORY/ OF THE UNDERMENTIONED MEN/ OF THIS PARISH WHO GAVE THEIR/ LIVES FOR KING AND COUNTRY/IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918/ (NAMES). The inscription on the east panel reads: SACRED/TO THE MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF THIS PARISH/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE 2ND GREAT WAR/ 1939-1945 (NAMES). The Fallen are listed in incised black painted lettering, by rank, name, service or regiment, date of death, and age.


Imperial War Museum War Memorial Register - High and Low Hesket, accessed 11 April 2019 from https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/2984
War Memorial Online - High Hesket Cross, accessed 12 April 2019 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/172460/
Penrith Observer, 27 July 1920, Page 5 - Honouring Hesket's War Heros


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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