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Brierfield Cenotaph

A Grade II Listed Building in Nelson, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.8248 / 53°49'29"N

Longitude: -2.2338 / 2°14'1"W

OS Eastings: 384707

OS Northings: 436531

OS Grid: SD847365

Mapcode National: GBR DSV6.5N

Mapcode Global: WHB7X.N4H4

Plus Code: 9C5VRQF8+WF

Entry Name: Brierfield Cenotaph

Listing Date: 23 July 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1427577

Location: Brierfield, Pendle, Lancashire, BB9

County: Lancashire

District: Pendle

Civil Parish: Brierfield

Built-Up Area: Brierfield

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Brierfield St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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First World War memorial, 1921, with additions for the Second Boer War and the Second World War.


Brierfield Cenotaph stands in a paved area in front of the town’s public library, in a square which used to be the Market Place. The memorial comprises a tall stone pylon rising from a two-stepped base. Two large, rectangular stone blocks surmount the pylon. Towards the top of the pylon a bronze wreath ornaments the front face, below which is a stone plaque carved IN MEMORIAM/ 1914 – 1918/ 1939 – 1945. The base of the pylon is buttressed on either side. In front a square base supports a bronze sculpture of a lion. Three stone steps, with an iron handrail decorated with painted torches, poppies and a dove, lead up to the front of the cenotaph.

The names of the men who died in the First World War are inscribed on the three faces of the base which supports the lion. In addition the inscription '1939-1945' appears on the reverse of the cenotaph’s column, with the names of the men who died in the Second World War carved below. The foot of the south buttress bears three names and a dedication to the Second Boer War. All inscriptions are incised and painted black.

Stone flower pots stand in the concave corners of the memorial’s base. The memorial is surrounded by iron railings decorated with painted poppies and the town’s coat of arms.

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, 2 February 2017.


Brierfield Cenotaph was designed by A Barraclough of the firm of Messrs Barraclough and Sanders, Lancaster and was executed by Thomas Dent of Nelson. The bronze lion is signed Gilbert. Although not confirmed, it is likely that this is the work of either noted sculptor Walter Gilbert (1871-1945) or his son Donald Gilbert RSBS (1900-61).

Walter Gilbert was founder and Director of the Bromsgrove Guild and, from 1918, assistant manager of H H Martyn and Co Ltd. He was responsible for war memorials including those at Eccleston, Morley, Towneley and Crewe (all Grade II-listed), the memorial to the Fifth (Royal Irish) Lancers at Mons, and the Doiran war memorial (Greece). Donald Gilbert’s work includes busts of Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Henry Wood and John Logie Baird. Father and son collaborated at H H Martyn and Co Ltd, arranging and executing works in association with the chief modeller Louis Weingartner.

Originally the memorial was placed in front of the Town Hall, where it was unveiled by T Veevers JP on 17 June 1921, and dedicated by Henry Henn, the Lord Bishop of Burnley and the Reverend T Smith of St Luke’s Church, Brierfield. The names of those servicemen from Brierfield who died fighting during the Second World War and Second Boer War were later added to the memorial. The memorial was moved c30m to its present position in front of the library in 1951. In 2010, following conservation work, two names were added to the memorial and it was enclosed by wrought iron railings, funded by the War Memorials Trust.

Reasons for Listing

Brierfield Cenotaph, situated in front of Brierfield Library and the Town Hall, 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 sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Sculpture: for the well-executed bronze lion,by Walter or Donald Gilbert;
* Group Value: with Brierfield Town Hall (Grade II) and Brierfield Methodist Church (Grade II).

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