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Harleston War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.4026 / 52°24'9"N

Longitude: 1.3006 / 1°18'2"E

OS Eastings: 624623

OS Northings: 283412

OS Grid: TM246834

Mapcode National: GBR VK4.CNM

Mapcode Global: VHL94.HWG1

Entry Name: Harleston War Memorial

Listing Date: 10 April 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1445129

Location: Redenhall with Harleston, South Norfolk, Norfolk, IP20

County: Norfolk

District: South Norfolk

Civil Parish: Redenhall with Harleston

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Redenhall Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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


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

MATERIALS: Cornish grey granite.

DESCRIPTION: Harleston war memorial is prominently located within a modest roadside memorial green to the E of Broad Street, Harleston and adjacent to the Church of St John (Grade II). The memorial faces W/NW onto Broad Street and is accessed from the public footpath by a set of two steps flanked by two low granite posts. It stands centrally on a cruciform-plan concrete path flanked by freestanding timber benches. There is a modern flagpole behind the memorial.

The memorial itself comprises a tall decorated cross in the Celtic style, set atop a tapering rectangular-plan monolith plinth standing on a low-level single-stone base. The cross shaft rises from the plinth having a high degree of decorative relief carving to its front composed of dot motifs encircled by, and interlaced with, stylised snakes and foliage forming an intricate design. The cross head has a large central raised boss with additional, but less pronounced, single bosses to each arm, the top arm of the cross head also features zoomorphic figures - possibly lambs - beneath which are the heads of four preying serpents or snakes. The cross ring has knotwork carving. The plinth is of rough-hewn granite having large smooth-dressed rectangular fields to each of its four sides which carry the inscriptions in black lettering.

The main dedicatory inscription is to the front and reads:


The remaining sides of the base record the fallen of the First World War: (NAMES).

A granite slab taking the form of a wide scrolled parchment, has been added to the front of the memorial's plinth, sitting atop a narrow ledge formed by the memorial's base, it records the 24 names of the fallen from the Second World War.

A small additional slate plaque has been attached to the front of the memorial, on a smooth-dressed section at the base of the cross shaft, this reads: NORFOLK'S FIRST VC / PTE HENRY WARD / 78TH REGIMENT / 1823-1867.

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, 6 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 the country. 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 Harleston as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of Redenhall with Harleston and Wortwell who lost their lives in the First World War.

The memorial cross, taking the form of a Celtic high cross, lists around its base the 73 names of the fallen of that conflict and was unveiled on 29 June 1920. The dedication was conducted by the Rector of St John's Church, the Rev Dr O D Inskip (see Diss Express - Friday 02 July 1920, p5).

In September 1946, following the Second World War, the Harleston War Memorial Committee resolved to add a granite slab with the names of the fallen of that conflict to the First World War memorial cross in Broad Street. This was to be in addition to erecting a separate war memorial pavilion in the town specifically in memory of those who died in the Second World War. A granite slab, taking the form of a wide scrolled parchment, was added to the First World War memorial's base and records the names of the 24 fallen locals of the Second World War. The cost of this addition (and for erecting the separate pavilion) was defrayed by holding a number of events, including a bank holiday athletic sport and horticultural show and by conducting house-to-house collections (see Diss Express - Friday 13 September 1946, p4).

More recently a small rectangular slate plaque has been attached to the front of the memorial in memory of Henry Ward VC, Norfolk's first VC holder who served with the 78th Regiment of Foot during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Reasons for Listing

Harleston war memorial, which is situated along Broad Street in Harleston, 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 sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;

* Architectural interest: as an elegant and well-detailed granite high cross in the Celtic style, which displays a high level of craftsmanship and some subtle yet poignant iconography;

* Group value: with numerous other listed buildings in the immediate vicinity, the most notable being the adjacent Grade II-listed Church of St John.

Other nearby listed buildings

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