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Devon County War Memorial and Processional Way

A Grade II* Listed Building in Exeter, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7227 / 50°43'21"N

Longitude: -3.5315 / 3°31'53"W

OS Eastings: 291991

OS Northings: 92567

OS Grid: SX919925

Mapcode National: GBR P0.PZR4

Mapcode Global: FRA 37H5.G0G

Entry Name: Devon County War Memorial and Processional Way

Listing Date: 16 April 2009

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393228

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506211

Location: Exeter, Devon, EX1

County: Devon

District: Exeter

Town: Exeter

Electoral Ward/Division: St David's

Built-Up Area: Exeter

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Exeter Cathedral

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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War Memorial. 1921. By Sir Edwin Lutyens.


War Memorial. 1921. By Sir Edwin Lutyens. Haytor granite. It consists of three stone steps to a rectangular plinth surmounted by a three tiered rectangular base changing via spurs into a lozenge shaped tapered shaft with a contemporary chamfered cross to the top. To the central tier of the base is carved the inscription: 'THE COUNTY/OF/DEVON/TO/HER GLORIOUS DEAD/1914-1919/TE DEUM LAUDAMUS/1939-1945'

Processional Way. 1974. By Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe. It consists of a granite paved forecourt to the west end of the cathedral, and diminishing stone steps in both width and height, at varying intervals and lined with a pebble gully, rising to the west and terminating with a platform to the north side of the war memorial.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 14/10/2015

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 7 December 2016.


The great wave of war memorial building after World War I resulted in thousands of monuments, both at home and on the battlefield. Lutyens was the most outstanding designer to work in this field. This is one of 15 'war crosses' designed by Lutyens, sharing a broadly similar design. The earliest to be erected was at Miserden, Gloucestershire in 1920; the latest at Station Road, York, in 1925.

The original proposal for the war memorial was the completion of Exeter Cathedral's cloister, but insufficient funds led to Sir Edwin Lutyens' memorial cross as an alternative. The Devon County War Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1920 and located to align with the west front of Exeter Cathedral and its altar. It was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1921. Lutyens wrote of the war memorial 'it is very simple and a monolith and its subtlety in line means labour, care and thought. It is out of one stone, the biggest I could get . . . It should endure forever'. The railings were erected in 2006.

In 1971 archaeological excavations of the Cathedral Green uncovered the remains of a Roman city (now scheduled - DV909). In 1974, the landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe (1900-1996), was commissioned to design a Processional Way for the Cathedral Close. As indicated by his drawing of 1974, Jellicoe retained most of the existing landscape design and path layout for the Close (see first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1880), but proposed the introduction of a stairway, platform in front of the war memorial and a square forecourt to the cathedral (all as executed). His drawing also suggests some tentative sites for tree replacement and dense shrubs and a circular shop (the latter not executed).

Sir Edwin Lutyens OM RA (1869-1944) was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War his reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. While the Cenotaph in Whitehall (London) had the most influence on other war memorials, the Thiepval Arch was the most influential on other forms of architecture. He designed the Stone of Remembrance which was placed in all Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and in some cemeteries in England, including some with which he was not otherwise associated.

Reasons for Listing

The Devon County War Memorial and the Processional Way has been designated at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:

* The war memorial is an eloquent witness to the impact of tragic world events on this county

* It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the foremost British architect of the day and designer of the Cenotaph

* Jellicoe's landscape design for the Cathedral Close uses the Processional Way to enhance the important alignment of the war memorial with Exeter Cathedral's west end and altar

* The war memorial and the Processional Way have strong group value, create a clear visual relationship with Exeter Cathedral (Grade I), and together form an impressive feature within the Close.

Selected Sources

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