Hensingham War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Egremont Road, near entrance to St John's Church, Hensingham, Cumbria, CA28 8QR


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Statutory Address:
Egremont Road, near entrance to St John's Church, Hensingham, Cumbria, CA28 8QR

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

Copeland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial with Second World War additions, 1925.

Reasons for Designation

Hensingham War Memorial, erected around 1925, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * an attractive memorial cross with a finely carved composition of Scandinavian interlace designs; * as a stylistically similar memorial to nearby war memorials designed by William Gershom Collingwood;

Historic interest: * as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it made in the First World War;

Group value: * it benefits from spatial group value with a number of Grade II-listed buildings on Main Street.


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 of 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 their great loss.

Hensingham War Memorial was erected on land donated by the Lowther family as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by local servicemen who lost their lives. It is prominently sited facing Egremont Road in a half-hexagonal walled plot which forms part of the east churchyard wall for the Church of St John. The memorial was unveiled on 27 September 1925 by Colonel D J Mason DSO (who also unveiled Cleator Moor - National Heritage List for England (NHLE) 1454239 - and Seascale - NHLE 1441482 - war memorials), and dedicated by the local vicar, the Reverend Edmund Freeman. It is similar, although simpler, in Scandinavian interlace design to nearby Arlecdon & Frizington (NHLE 1086722), Seascale and St Bees (NHLE 1086682) which were designed by William Gershom Collingwood (1854-1932) who designed a range of war memorials in Cumbria. One serviceman named, Captain Blair DSO, was a hero of the 1910 Wellington Colliery Pit Explosion (Whitehaven) and awarded the Edward Medal for his rescue efforts in one of the largest mining disasters in West Cumberland (in which 136 men and boys perished).

In June 1929 the names of 35 Hensingham servicemen were added to the plinth, and following the Second World War the memorial was re-dedicated with a brass plaque on its upper step for all who fell in the Second World War (without names). A dedicatory panel also naming the fallen is positioned inside the church of St John.


First World War memorial, with Second World War addition, 1925.

MATERIALS: Dalbeattie granite; bronze

PLAN: octagonal plan form

DESCRIPTION: the war memorial comprises a Celtic-style wheel-head cross on a shaft with entasis. The front (east) face of the cross is decorated with carved Scandinavian knotwork interlace designs in the cross-head. The shaft is finely axed, and moulded at the edges, with a lead letter inscription at the bottom: TO THE MEN OF/HENSINGHAM PARISH/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ DURING THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-1918. It rises from a rough-hewn tapering plinth which has a smooth recessed panel in its front (east) face which contains leaded lettering naming the 36 fallen. The plinth stands on a two-stepped canted square base, and the upper step front (east) face has a Second World War bronze cast plaque dedication with a low relief inscription: AND OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN/ THE WAR 1939-1945.


Imperial War Museum War Memorial Register - Hensingham, accessed 26 November 2020, via https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/3964
War Memorials Online - Hensingham Village Cross, accessed 26 November 2020, via https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1470480


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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