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Kemsing War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Sevenoaks, Kent

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Latitude: 51.306 / 51°18'21"N

Longitude: 0.2295 / 0°13'46"E

OS Eastings: 555500

OS Northings: 158677

OS Grid: TQ555586

Mapcode National: GBR VS.GJ6

Mapcode Global: VHHPL.XFNP

Plus Code: 9F32864H+9Q

Entry Name: Kemsing War Memorial

Listing Date: 24 November 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1430666

Location: Kemsing, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15

County: Kent

District: Sevenoaks

Civil Parish: Kemsing

Built-Up Area: Otford

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Kemsing St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

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


The memorial comprises a stone Latin cross with moulded capital ends set on a tall, slim octagonal shaft, rising from a two-stepped octagonal plinth. This stands on a semi-circular brick wall, from which extend two flanking walls. The semi-circular wall encloses a circular paved area in front of the memorial, and three steps lead down from this. There are metal plaques on the brick wall under the memorial, on either side of the memorial on the curved wall, and on the pillars at the junction between the curved wall and the straight flanking walls.

The plaque directly beneath the plinth bears an inscription that reads IN MEMORY OF THE/ MEN AND WOMEN OF KEMSING/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE/ GREAT WARS/ 1914 – 1918/ 1939 – 1945/ THAT WE MIGHT LIVE. A larger plaque to the left reads REMEMBER THOSE WHO DIED, followed by the names of those who fell in the First World War, and LORD GOD OF HOSTS BE WITH US YET,/ LEST WE FORGET, LEST WE FORGET. Smaller plaques on the left pillar read FROM WAR/ AND THE SIN/ OF FORGET-/ FULNESS/ GOOD LORD/ DELIVER US/ 1914 – 1918 and FROM THIS/ PARISH 144/ MEN WENT/ FORTH TO/ BEAR ARMS/ 1914 – 1918.

Another plaque to the right lists those who fell in the Second World War. In addition, plaques on the right pillar read FROM/ THIS PARISH/ 300 MEN AND/ WOMEN JOINED/ HIS MAJESTY’S/ FORCES / 1939 – 1945 and IS IT/ NOTHING TO/ YOU, ALL YE/ THAT PASS/ BY/ 1939-1945.

The memorial stands in a small garden in which, to the west, is the medieval St Edith's Well.

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, 30 November 2016.


The land where Kemsing War Memorial now stands was bought by Sir Mark Collet, who commissioned architect Godfrey Pinkerton to design the memorial. Work such as levelling the ground, mixing cement and laying bricks was done by the men of the village voluntarily. The memorial cost £855. It was unveiled on Easter Saturday, 26 March 1921, by Lord Sackville, owner of Knole House in nearby Sevenoaks. It was dedicated by Avison Scott, Archdeacon of Tonbridge and first class cricketer, assisted by the vicar and the leader of the local Free Church. Forty ex-servicemen attended the service.

In 1948, 21 names of the fallen of the Second World War were added. The memorial was re-dedicated by the Dean of Rochester, Thomas Crick, on 31 July 1949. Conservation and repair work was carried out in 2002, funded by War Memorials Trust. This included repairs to the paving and coping.

Godfrey Pinkerton FRIBA (1858-1937) was articled to Messrs H and HP Fry of Liverpool from 1875 for four years, and then attended Liverpool School of Art. Based in London, he was responsible for buildings including the Grade II-listed Church of St Mary, Summertown.

Reasons for Listing

Kemsing War Memorial, situated on the High Street, 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: an elegant memorial cross designed by Godfrey Pinkerton FRIBA;
* Group Value: with a number of Grade II-listed buildings in close proximity.

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