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Bere Ferrers War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Bere Ferrers, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4509 / 50°27'3"N

Longitude: -4.1715 / 4°10'17"W

OS Eastings: 245936

OS Northings: 63479

OS Grid: SX459634

Mapcode National: GBR NV.NVS9

Mapcode Global: FRA 274V.YG8

Entry Name: Bere Ferrers War Memorial

Listing Date: 20 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443334

Location: Bere Ferrers, West Devon, Devon, PL20

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: Bere Ferrers

Built-Up Area: Bere Ferrers

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

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First World War memorial, unveiled 1921, with later additions.


The memorial stands above the road on Fore Street at the junction with the path leading to the Church of St Andrew (Grade I-listed). It takes the form of a tall granite wheel-head cross. The cross shaft rises from a tapering plinth, square on plan, which stands on a three-stepped base and high circular platform. The middle step supports a low metal railing that is designed to retain wreaths and floral tributes.

The principal dedicatory inscription to the front face of the plinth reads IN/ PROUD AND GRATEFUL/ MEMORY OF THE GALLANT/ MEN OF THIS PARISH WHO/ MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-1918./ (9 NAMES). The other names are recorded on the plinth sides. To the rear of the plinth, the dedication to the Second World War soldiers reads WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE WORLD WAR/ 1939-1945./ IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM/ “GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN.”/ (21 NAMES).

To one side of the memorial a tablet, in the shape of a scrolled roll of honour, is inclined on the circular platform and abutting the lower step of the base. Its inscription reads IN MEMORY OF/ THE NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS/ WHO WERE KILLED IN A TRAGIC/ ACCIDENT AT BERE FERRERS STATION/ ON SEPTEMBER 24TH 1917/ (10 NAMES). All the inscriptions are in applied metal letters.


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 which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Bere Ferrers as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. The memorial was unveiled on 2 July 1921 by Sir Henry Lopes on the same day as the other memorial cross in the parish, at Bere Alston, was also unveiled. It commemorates 41 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of 21 men who died in that conflict were added.

In 2001 the names of 10 New Zealand soldiers who died in a railway accident at Bere Ferrers railway station were added to the memorial. On 24 September 1917 the men had been en route to Salisbury Plain for training, having arrived in Britain at Plymouth dock. Their troop train made an unscheduled stop at Bere Ferrers to let an express train pass. Mistaking the stop for Exeter, where they had been instructed to collect food, the soldiers left the train and started to walk up the track. Nine soldiers were killed by the London Waterloo to Plymouth express train, and one died of his injuries in hospital. They were buried in Efford Cemetery, Plymouth.

Reasons for Listing

Bere Ferrers War Memorial, which stands on Fore 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 this local community, the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20, and the sacrifice of Commonwealth troops in the First World War;
* Architectural interest: a simple yet poignant granite memorial cross in the Celtic style;
* Group value: with the Grade I-listed Church of St Andrew.

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