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Axmouth War Memorial Cross

A Grade II Listed Building in Axmouth, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7143 / 50°42'51"N

Longitude: -3.0547 / 3°3'17"W

OS Eastings: 325630

OS Northings: 91054

OS Grid: SY256910

Mapcode National: GBR PF.HGSZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 47H6.1RQ

Entry Name: Axmouth War Memorial Cross

Listing Date: 23 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443109

Location: Axmouth, East Devon, Devon, EX12

County: Devon

District: East Devon

Civil Parish: Axmouth

Built-Up Area: Axmouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Axmouth St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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First World War memorial, unveiled 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.


The memorial cross stands in the churchyard of the Church of St Michael (Grade I-listed). In Cornish granite, it takes the form of a c5m tall wheel-head cross. The cross head and the cross shaft are ornamented with intricate interlace patterns carved in low relief. The cross shaft stands on a three-stepped, octagonal, base. The inscriptions, in applied metal letters, are recorded on the middle step of the base.

The principal dedicatory inscription on the front face reads TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF THIS PARISH/ WHO DIED FOR KING AND COUNTRY/ IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 – 1919/ “THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE”. The commemorated names are listed on other faces of the middle step with, to the rear, the two Second World War names.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Axmouth as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

At a meeting held in April 1919 the villagers decided to raise a memorial cross in the churchyard and a tablet in the church. The War Memorial Committee hoped to raise £300 to cover the costs. The cross had been erected by March 1920. It was made by Messrs H Hems and Sons of Exeter and was unveiled by Major Morrison Bell MP, with an address by Prebendary HC Gaye, in commemoration of 22 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of two men who died in that conflict were added.

Reasons for Listing

Axmouth War Memorial Cross, which stands in St Michael's churchyard, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a tall and intricately ornamented wheel-head cross in the Celtic style;
* Group value: with the Church of St Michael (Grade I) and other Grade II-listed buildings in close proximity.

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