Leighton Buzzard War Memorial, including a pair of stone benches

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1470190
Date first listed:
27-Aug-2020
Statutory Address:
50 metres North East of the Church of All Saints, Church Square, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 1AA

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
50 metres North East of the Church of All Saints, Church Square, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 1AA

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

District:
Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Leighton-Linslade
National Grid Reference:
SP9194824909

Summary

A First World War memorial, with names added after the Second World War, and one name added after the Korean War.

Reasons for Designation

Leighton Buzzard War Memorial 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

* as an imposing and dignified design in the form of a towering granite block, believed to have been the largest such block ever quarried in the United Kingdom.

Group value

* with the Grade I listed Church of All Saints, Leighton Buzzard, with the Grade II listed Golden Bell Public House, and the Grade II listed Italianate style terrace 4-14 Church Square.

History

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.

Leighton Buzzard War Memorial was unveiled on 11 November 1920, by Lord Ampthill, in a dedication service undertaken by the Reverend Frederick Hills, Vicar of the Parish Church of All Saints. It commemorated 171 who fell in the First World War. The monument is understood to have been formed from the largest single undressed granite block ever quarried in the United Kingdom, and weighed over 22 tons.

After the Second World War 51 further names were added, and later the name of one soldier who died in the Korean War (1950-1953).

Details

A First World War memorial, with names added after the Second World War, and one name added after the Korean War.

MATERIALS: granite.

PLAN: the memorial lies at the top of Church Square, and is just outside the gate to the churchyard of the Church of All Saints (listed at Grade I) positioned approximately 50m north-east of the church entrance. It is sited within a rectangular paved area, originally enclosed by railings, but now enclosed on three sides by a coped brick wall (not included in the listing). On either side, facing the memorial, sit a pair of stone benches which are contemporary with the memorial.

EXTERIOR: a rough-hewn granite monolith set on a square, two-stepped base. A cross is inscribed on the upper section to the front face of the monolith. There are smooth panels near the base of the monolith on all sides for the inscription and names, and the upper step is also inscribed. The inscription reads: THIS/ MONOLITH/ IS ERECTED/ IN HONOURED MEMORY/ OF THE/ LEIGHTON BUZZARD/ MEN/ WHO FELL IN DEFENCE OF/ THEIR KING AND COUNTRY/ 1914 - 1919/ (Names)/ 1939-1945/ (Names).

Sources

Websites
Central Bedfordshire Virtual Library, accessed 3 April 2020 from http://virtual-library.culturalservices.net/webingres/bedfordshire/vlib/0.digitised_resources/leighton_buzzard_cenotaph_group.htm
Google Street View, accessed 3 April 2020 from https://www.google.com/maps/@51.9152134,-0.6646219,3a,75y,158.56h,98.25t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sb9P-1gow50OXinyAHOO9MA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
Imperial War Museum website, accessed 3 April 2020 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/7741
Leighton Linslade Past Times, accessed 3 April 2020 from http://www.leighton-linslade.org/wars/index.html
Roll of Honour Website, accessed 3 April 2020 from http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Bedfordshire/LeightonBuzzardRollofHonour.html

Legal

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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