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Gissing War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Gissing, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.4233 / 52°25'23"N

Longitude: 1.1547 / 1°9'16"E

OS Eastings: 614596

OS Northings: 285268

OS Grid: TM145852

Mapcode National: GBR THF.4Q7

Mapcode Global: VHL91.YCS5

Entry Name: Gissing War Memorial

Listing Date: 14 March 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1444292

Location: Gissing, South Norfolk, Norfolk, IP22

County: Norfolk

District: South Norfolk

Civil Parish: Gissing

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Gissing St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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First World War memorial, unveiled 1920, with later additions for the Second World War. Wheel-head granite cross on a plinth, with broad two-stage base, enclosed by iron railings.


Gissing War Memorial is located adjacent to the churchyard of the Church of St Mary (Grade I-listed) on the east side of Lower Street. It is prominently situated in a kerbed and railed enclosure raised above road level. The granite memorial comprises a rough-hewn wheel-head cross. The front of the cross is ornamented with a reversed sword carved in low relief. The cross rises from a tapering plinth and single-stepped base, standing on a two-stage paved base.

The plinth bears the inscriptions in leaded lettering. Beginning on the front face of the cross shaft, below the carved sword, the dedication reads TO/ THE GLORY/ OF GOD and continues on the front face of the plinth AND IN MEMORY OF/ GISSING MEN/ FALLEN IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 – 1918/ (9 NAMES). On the riser of the step below, the later inscription reads ALSO THOSE WHO FELL IN THE 1939 – 1945 WAR/ (2 NAMES).

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, 16 June 2017.


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 Gissing as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

A meeting to agree an appropriate memorial was held at the end of May 1919, chaired by the Rector, Reverend WES Cooper. A number of possibilities were discussed but it was decided to put to a wider vote the options of a lych-gate, a cross in the churchyard, and an endowment fund to supply coal to the poor. The cross was chosen.

A suitable plot adjacent to the churchyard was given by Colonel Sir Kenneth H Kemp CBE. The memorial itself cost c£110, most of which came from public subscription. The cross was supplied by Maile and Sons of London (a large firm of church furnishers that provided many war memorials across the country), and erected by Mr RF Perfitt of Diss. Mr Lanchester (Gissing Estate bricklayer) and Mr Limmer (of Dickleburgh) had prepared the foundations.

The memorial was unveiled on 7 March 1920 by Sir Kenneth Kemp and dedicated by the Bishop of Thetford, following a service led by the Reverend Cooper. It commemorates nine 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

Gissing War Memorial, which stands to the east of Lower 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, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a simple yet imposing granite wheel-head cross in the Celtic style;
* Group value: with the Grade I-listed Church of St Mary.

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