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West Malling War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in West Malling, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2923 / 51°17'32"N

Longitude: 0.4072 / 0°24'25"E

OS Eastings: 567938

OS Northings: 157543

OS Grid: TQ679575

Mapcode National: GBR NPC.V23

Mapcode Global: VHJM5.0SM7

Entry Name: West Malling War Memorial

Location: West Malling, Tonbridge and Malling, Kent, ME19

County: Kent

District: Tonbridge and Malling

Parish: West Malling

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Listing Date: 20 March 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1444565

Summary

War memorial unveiled in 1921.

Description

War memorial in the churchyard of the Church of St Mary, designed by W K McDermott ARIBA, built by J A Davison and unveiled in 1921, approached from steps at the W side of the High Street.

MATERIALS: rock-faced and ashlar Kentish ragstone with a stone cross.

DESCRIPTION: the base has two piers in rock-faced Kentish ragstone with flat coping. Between the piers is an ashlar panel, shouldered at the top with moulded coping stones, at the centre of which is a pointed-arch recess containing a metal plaque listing the names of the men from West Malling that fought and died during the Great War 1914-1918. On the canted apron beneath is a supplementary plaque giving the names of the fallen from the Second World War. The inscription reads: THE / NAMES OF / WEST MALLING / MEN WHO GAVE THEIR / LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918 ARE HERE RECORDED / THEY DIED FOR RIGHT AND FREEDOM / MAY THEY REST IN PEACE GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN / THIS THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE / FOR HIS FRIENDS - 48 NAMES. AND OF THE FOLLOWING WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE 1939 – WAR - 26 NAMES.

The base is surmounted by a tall, plain stone cross.


This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 21 March 2017.


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. This was a result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and the official policy of not repatriating the dead. Therefore, the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

On 6 June 1919, a public committee was formed at a parish meeting to make plans for a suitable remembrance. In July 1919 it was resolved to erect a war memorial in the churchyard in the form of a memorial cross, with the names of the 'heroic dead' inscribed on a plaque. In subsequent months, a list of the subscribers was regularly printed in the parish magazine. In December 1919, the subscribers met and approved a sketch plan prepared by the architect W K McDermott, ARIBA. In July 1920, the parish magazine records that the war memorial would be a:`handsome cross of Scotch granite, 14 feet high, standing in the centre of a semi-circular recess hollowed out from the Churchyard wall, which recess will be enclosed with gates. Beneath the cross there will be a bronze shield, with the surnames and initials of those who died for us.'

The Revd Lawson secured a Faculty for the work. The Kent ragstone was supplied by Mr Ronald Chittenden and the builder was Mr J A Davison; the final cost of the memorial was £525. The memorial was unveiled on 22 May 1921 when a large crowd of people assembled to see the memorial dedicated by Revd. Lawson, and Revd Prideaux reading out the names of the men commemorated. The Memorial was unveiled by Gen. Sir Archibald J. Murray, GCMG, KCB, CVO, DSO.

The stone cross which tops the memorial is a replacement at approximately half the height of the original.

West Malling war memorial is located on the W side of the High Street in a recess at the NE boundary of the Church of St Mary the Virgin's churchyard. The churchyard wall was broken through to accommodate steps up to the memorial from the pavement with gated access.

Reasons for Listing

The war memorial at West Malling, located at the NE boundary of the churchyard of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a distinctive war memorial designed by W K McDermott, ARIBA;
* Group value: with the Church of St Mary the Virgin, listed at Grade II*, and other nearby monuments and buildings listed at Grade II.

Other nearby listed buildings

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