Torpenhow War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
St Michael's Churchyard, Torpenhow, Cumbria, CA7 1HZ


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Statutory Address:
St Michael's Churchyard, Torpenhow, Cumbria, CA7 1HZ

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

Allerdale (District Authority)
Blennerhasset and Torpenhow
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, 1921, by Messrs Beattie and Co, of Carlisle, with Second World War additions.

Reasons for Designation

Torpenhow War Memorial, 1921, 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:

* a simple yet poignant memorial in the form of a Celtic wheel-cross crafted in Aberdeen granite by Messrs Beattie and Co of Carlisle, a well-known and prolific Cumberland monumental sculptor and mason.

Group value: * with the Grade I-listed Church of St Michael, and the Grade II-listed St Michael's Vicarage.


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 of 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 Torpenhow as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 18 men from the community, who lost their lives in the First World War.

The first moves to build a memorial at Torpenhow to commemorate the fallen from the ecclesiastical parish, was taken in December 1919, when the vicar called a meeting in the schoolroom, to appoint a war memorial committee and to obtain volunteers to act as collectors to solicit contributions from the different districts of the parish. The memorial was built within the churchyard of the Church of St Michael (Grade I) and it is over-looked by St Michael's Vicarage (Grade II). It was made by the prolific local monumental masons, Messrs Beattie and 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 unveiled on 7 August 1921 by Mr W Parkin Moore of Whitehall, and was dedicated by the Dean of Carlisle. Following the Second World War, the names of the 11 fallen from that conflict were added to the rear of the monument, which included a female Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) soldier.


First World War memorial, 1921 by Messrs Beattie and Co, Carlisle, with Second World War additions.

MATERIALS: Aberdeen granite

DESCRIPTION: the war memorial is prominently situated in front of the west wall of the Church of St Michael. It comprises an ashlar granite wheel head Celtic cross, with the main elevation facing to the south, which has an elaborate Celtic strap-work decoration that extends down onto the tapering shaft. The shaft is raised on a low stepped plinth, with rounded upper surfaces, and is set within a square gravel bed contained by raised kerbstones. The front elevation of the memorial has an inscription in lead letters that bears the 18 (NAMES) and reads: PRO DEO, PRO REGE, PRO PATRIA/ IN MEMORY OF OUR GALLANT DEAD/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1918. The rear elevation has no decoration and bears a list in lead letters of the 11 (NAMES) of the Fallen of the Second World War, beneath a date that reads: 1939 - 1945.


Imperial War Museum War Memorial Register - Torpenhow, accessed 4 November 2019 from
Wigton Advertiser, Saturday, 20 December 1919, page 3


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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