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Ampthill War Memorial, St Andrew's Churchyard

A Grade II Listed Building in Ampthill, Central Bedfordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.033 / 52°1'58"N

Longitude: -0.4898 / 0°29'23"W

OS Eastings: 503695

OS Northings: 238250

OS Grid: TL036382

Mapcode National: GBR G39.GZ9

Mapcode Global: VHFQT.G5DC

Entry Name: Ampthill War Memorial, St Andrew's Churchyard

Listing Date: 2 February 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1431612

Location: Ampthill, Central Bedfordshire, MK45

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Ampthill

Built-Up Area: Ampthill

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Ampthill

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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Summary


War memorial, erected 1921, with Second World War additions, probably including the shaft and cross head. It was designed by Sir Albert Richardson and sculpted by John Daymond and Sons of London.

Description

First World War memorial, erected 1921, with Second World War additions, probably including the shaft and cross head. It was designed by Sir Albert Richardson and sculpted by John Daymond and Sons of London.

MATERIALS: of Portland stone.

PLAN: it is hexagonal on plan.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial faces south and takes the form of a Latin cross of which the shaft and cross head were added at a later date. It comprises a five-stepped hexagonal plinth on which stands an hexagonal pedestal ornamented with crenellations and blind trefoil arches. Above is an hexagonal shaft that rises to a crenellated knop over which is a Latin cross with fleur-de-lys shaped terminals at the end of each arm. The First World War dedication is inscribed on the south face of the pedestal and reads 'TO THE / GLORY OF GOD / AND IN / GRATEFUL / MEMORY / OF THE MEN OF / THIS PARISH / WHO GAVE / THEIR LIVES IN / THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918 / THEIR NAME / LIVETH FOR / EVERMORE'. The other five faces contain the names of the 69 men who died during this conflict. Below the First World War dedication, the Second World War dedication is inscribed on the risers of the top four steps of the plinth. It reads 'MAKE THEM / TO BE NUMBERED/ WITH THY SAINTS / IN GLORY / EVERLASTING', with the names of the 19 men who died being inscribed on the risers on the other five sides of the plinth.

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, 16 January 2017.

History

The origins of a memorial to Ampthill’s war dead was first discussed at a meeting of the Urban District Council on 21 January 1919 when a committee was established to look at the possibility of purchasing Avenue House in Church Street as a public memorial hall. As the house was subsequently purchased by the architect Sir Albert Richardson (1880-1964), a second committee was set up to consider what form the memorial should take. With the initial suggestion to build a public hall being found to be too expensive, it was decided to erect a monument. Albert Richardson offered his services and the Duke of Bedford donated land at the end of the Alameda, a C19 public walk, on which it could stand. However, there was considerable opposition in the town to the Alameda proposal, with three distinct factions arising. The first group included those who just wanted a memorial at the Alameda, while a second group wanted the Alameda memorial along with an associated club or hostel where ex-servicemen could meet. The third group wanted a memorial in St Andrew's churchyard in the form of a cross. A public meeting was therefore held to discuss the three proposals, with various compromises put forward, including the Market Square and Church Square, but these were rejected. The Alameda was finally voted on, but this was also rejected. A decision was then made to hold a ‘referendum of the town’. In May 1920 a meeting was called in the Market Square where the proposals were explained. Members of the council were also present to explain their reasons for supporting the Alameda and hostel/club proposal, which was subsequently passed after a ballot, while Anthony Wingfield offered the use of what is now the Wingfield Club as a place to meet. This outcome, however, went against the views of the town’s clergy who could not accept that a club could sell alcohol on weekdays and Sundays free from the restrictions that were applied to the town's public houses. The Church of St Andrew subsequently decided to erect a second memorial, but its design and positioning was the cause of great acrimony within the church. At a meeting on 7 June 1920 three suggestions were put forward. The first, a chapel of remembrance, was deemed to be too expensive, while a garden of remembrance was also rejected as it would require maintenance. A rood screen by the chancel steps was also vetoed on the grounds that graves within the church would be disturbed. Further suggestions to site the memorial near the lychgate and in the church were also rejected. Finally, after consulting the relatives of those who had fallen, it was decided to locate the memorial outside the church's south door. It was unveiled on 24 May 1921, a week after the Alameda memorial, and was designed by Albert Richardson and manufactured by John Daymond and Sons of London. Following the Second World War the names of the 19 local men who died during this conflict were added.

In 2013 the memorial was cleaned and repaired. During the restoration work it was found the shaft and cross-head were added at a later date, probably when the Second World War dedications were added.

Reasons for Listing

Ampthill war memorial in St Andrew's churchyard, erected in 1921, with Second World War additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;

* Architectural interest: the memorial, designed by Sir Albert Richardson, is architecturally distinguished and executed in high quality materials with good craftsmanship;

* Design interest: as an accomplished and well-realised war memorial which takes the form of the Celtic wheel-head cross;

* Group value: with a small group of listed buildings within its immediate vicinity, including the Church of St Andrew (listed Grade I), Dynevor House (listed Grade II*), Little Dynevor (listed Grade II), Feoffee Almshouses (listed Grade II) and Brandreth House (listed Grade II).

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