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Burnham War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Burnham, Buckinghamshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5318 / 51°31'54"N

Longitude: -0.6585 / 0°39'30"W

OS Eastings: 493152

OS Northings: 182283

OS Grid: SU931822

Mapcode National: GBR F7R.VRZ

Mapcode Global: VHFT1.JRRL

Entry Name: Burnham War Memorial

Listing Date: 20 December 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1440042

Location: Burnham, South Bucks, Buckinghamshire, SL1

County: Buckinghamshire

District: South Bucks

Civil Parish: Burnham

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Burnham

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Summary

First World War memorial, with bronze statue by Leonard S Merrifield, unveiled on 19 December 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.

Description

MATERIALS: Portland stone cross with bronze statue.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial is located in the NW corner of Burnham Park, accessed from the High Street. It consists of a freestanding Portland stone wheel cross, with decorative Celtic-style knotwork relief carvings. In front of the cross is a bronze statue of a full size soldier in uniform holding a rifle. The cross and bronze statue surmount a square plinth raised on a two-stepped base. The memorial is raised from ground level on an oval grassed mound, edged with a curved Portland stone wall.

Below the bronze figure on the plinth is 1914 – 1919 in bronze numbers with a later brass plaque below, which is inscribed 1939 – 1945/ AND/ OTHER/ CONFLICTS.

On the rear of the plinth is a bronze wreath, below which is the inscription THEIR NAMES/ SHALL BE HAD/ IN REMEMBRANCE. The sides of the plinth are inscribed with the names of the fallen.

On the curved wall, on either side of the entrance to the memorial, is 1939 – 1945 in bronze letters surrounded by the names of the fallen from the Second World War.

History

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, 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.

One such memorial was raised at Burnham as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

Burnham War Memorial was unveiled on 19 December 1920 by the Bishop of Buckingham on its original site to the S of St Peter’s Church at the road junction with Stomp Road. It was then relocated to Burnham Park away from the road junction between 1955 and 1967. The bronze figure on the memorial was the work of Leonard S Merrifield (1880-1943). Merrifield exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1906, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculpture in 1926. He is perhaps best known for his figure of the Welsh hero, Pantycelyn, in Cardiff City Hall and the Merthyr Tydfil Memorial with three bronze figures

The memorial commemorates 88 local servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War. A further 48 names were added to the memorial following the Second World War for the fallen of that conflict. In 2014 the memorial was conserved with the help of grant aid.

Reasons for Listing

Burnham 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: the ensemble of an ornate and striking cross and oval enclosure is of considerable merit in terms of its composition, craftsmanship and high-quality materials;
* Sculptural interest: an excellent example of a bronze figure of a soldier by the prominent sculptor Leonard S Merrifield;
* Group value: with Grade-II listed buildings along the High Street.

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