History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

H M Prison Dartmoor: Obelisk in the French Prisoner of War Cemetery

A Grade II Listed Building in Princetown, Devon

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.551 / 50°33'3"N

Longitude: -3.9952 / 3°59'42"W

OS Eastings: 258746

OS Northings: 74258

OS Grid: SX587742

Mapcode National: GBR Q2.VRK3

Mapcode Global: FRA 27JL.TLZ

Plus Code: 9C2RH223+9W

Entry Name: H M Prison Dartmoor: Obelisk in the French Prisoner of War Cemetery

Listing Date: 18 April 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1427527

Location: Dartmoor Forest, West Devon, Devon, PL20

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Built-Up Area: Princetown

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Find accommodation in
Princetown

Summary


A memorial erected in c1866-8 commemorating the French soldiers who died at Dartmoor Prison where they were held as prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars of 1809-1816.

Description

A memorial erected in c1866-8 commemorating the French prisoners of war who died at Dartmoor Prison during the Napoleonic Wars of 1809-1816.

MATERIALS: Dartmoor granite.

DESCRIPTION: a memorial in the shape of an obelisk set on a raised horse-shoe shaped base. Formerly, as shown on a photograph of the memorial of c1900, the obelisk stood on a granite stone rubble base forming a rockery planted with ferns.

Underneath a bronze emblem of an eagle at the top of the obelisk, is the following inscription: 'IN - MEMORY- OF THE - FRENCH - PRISONERS - OF WAR - WHO DIED - BETWEEN THE - YEARS - 1809 & 1814 - AND LIE - BURIED HERE - DULCE ET - DECORUM EST - PRO PATRIA - MORI'

Underneath is a small bronze plaque added in 2009 on the occasion of the bicentenary of the first French prisoner of war arriving at Dartmoor Prison, reading: '24 MAI - 1809-2009 - HOMMAGE - A VOUS - SOLDATS ET MARINS - DE L'EMPIRE - QUI AVEZ, CHANCUN - PAR VOTRE HISTOIRE - MARQUE LA - GRANDE HISTOIRE - DE NOTRE EUROPE'.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 23 November 2017.

History

During the Napoleonic Wars of 1809-1816 and the Anglo-American War of 1812-16, 271 American and around 1200 French soldiers died at Dartmoor Prison where they were held as prisoners of war. They were buried in unmarked graves in a field immediately west of the prison outside the prison walls. In the early 1860s, in response to reports that during ploughing of the field human remains regularly came to the surface, the Governor of Dartmoor Prison decided to create two burial grounds east of the prison, outside the prison walls, one for the French and one for American prisoners of war. The human remains were exhumed, divided into two parts and then reburied. The convicts of Dartmoor Prison (by then a civic prison) made a commemorative obelisk for each burial ground.

In 2002 the obelisks to both cemeteries were restored by Dartmoor Prison. On 24 May 2009, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the first French prisoners of war transferring from the Plymouth hulks to Dartmoor Prison, a ceremony was held at the French Cemetery attended by descendents of the prisoners of war and French dignitaries.

Reasons for Listing

The Obelisk at the French Prisoner of War Cemetery, H M Prison Dartmoor, erected in 1866-8 by prisoners of Dartmoor Prison (by then a civic prison), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Artistic interest: despite its modest design, it is of good quality reflecting its function as a commemorative structure, and having been hand-carved by prisoners of Dartmoor Prison, adds further to its interest and poignancy;
* Historic interest: it is an important and rare example of a monument commemorating the French prisoners of war who lost their lives at Dartmoor Prison during the Napoleonic Wars;
* Group value: it forms an important focal point within the cemetery, and has important group value with the adjacent American Prisoner of War Cemetery laid out together as a matching pair, and with Dartmoor Prison.

Selected Sources

Book cover links are generated automatically from the sources. They are not necessarily always correct, as book names at Amazon may not be quite the same as those used referenced in the text.

Source title links go to a search for the specified title at Amazon. Availability of the title is dependent on current publication status. You may also want to check AbeBooks, particularly for older titles.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.