Eleven war memorials, built by communities in Shropshire to honour the sacrifice of their war dead, have been listed on the advice of Historic England.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has most recently listed Gobowen War Memorial and Weston Rhyn War Memorial at Grade II. Both memorials are reaching their centenary this year. In Shrewsbury, the Shropshire War Memorial has seen its listing updated to grade II* to fully reflect its historical importance.
The eleven listed memorials includes:
– Whitchurch War Memorial, Station Road, Whitchurch – listed grade II
– Clun War Memorial, Church of St George, Vicarage Road, Clun – listed grade II
– Berrington War Memorial, All Saints Church, Berrington – listed grade II
– Cressage War Memorial, Village Square, Cressage – listed grade II
– Gobowen War Memorial, Chirk Road, Gobowen – updated listed II
– Farlow War Memorial Lych-gate, St Giles Church, Farlow – listed grade II
– Weston Rhyn War Memorial, Station Road, Weston Rhyn, Oswestry – listed grade II
– Barrow and Willey War Memorial, Willey Park, 1-2 Deancorner, Barrow – listed grade II
– War Memorial Gates, Hartshill Park, Oakengates, Telford – listed grade II
– Cleobury North War Memorial, St Peter and St Paul Parish Church – listed grade II
– Shropshire War Memorial, The Quarry, St Chad’s Terrace, Shrewsbury – listed grade II* from grade II
Although the majority of First World War memorials were not constructed until after the end of the war, memorials began to be erected prior to this as a way to provide the community with focus for their grief. Some of these were by individuals to commemorate family members, others by local communities to honour the sacrifices being made or to specific events and places related to the war effort.
Lord Ashton of Hyde, First World War Minister said:
“As we enter the final year of our First World War centenary commemorations, we want to ensure the bravery and sacrifice of those who served are never forgotten.
“Local war memorials are a poignant reminder of how the war affected our communities and of those who never came home. I encourage everyone to visit their local memorial and to learn more about their connection to this pivotal point in our history.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “These memorials were an important indicator of how society was feeling and reacting as the war progressed and as the loss of life increased to unprecedented levels. They were not just a focal point for people’s grief but also seen as a symbol to those still fighting.”
Contemporary newspaper reports indicate a strong desire to erect war shrines from 1916 onwards; however they were controversial as some saw them as anti-patriotic and disrespectful to those fighting. Ultimately these war memorials and shrines became a precursor what was to come: the national movement to memorialise that took place following the war.
Historic England has pledged to list a total of 2,500 war memorials over the centenary of the First World War. To do this they need members of the public to put their war memorials forward for listing.
This is all part of a wider partnership forged with War Memorials Trust, Civic Voice and the Imperial War Museums to help communities discover, care for and conserve their local war memorials. Working with enthusiastic volunteers across the country, the programme is providing up to £2million in grants for war memorial repair and conservation and hundreds of workshops to teach people how to record their memorials and put them forward for listing.
The goal is to see as many war memorials as possible are in a fitting condition for the centenary, and they remain cherished local landmarks for generations to come.