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Hailsham War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Hailsham, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8635 / 50°51'48"N

Longitude: 0.2593 / 0°15'33"E

OS Eastings: 559094

OS Northings: 109544

OS Grid: TQ590095

Mapcode National: GBR MT2.SG7

Mapcode Global: FRA C6FT.GVH

Plus Code: 9F22V775+CP

Entry Name: Hailsham War Memorial

Listing Date: 30 May 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1447080

Location: Hailsham, Wealden, East Sussex, BN27

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Hailsham

Built-Up Area: Hailsham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Hailsham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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First and Second World War memorial. Erected in 1920, with additional plaque added 1949.


First and Second World War memorial. Erected in 1920, with additional plaque added 1949.

MATERIALS: Carved in Cornish granite.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial is located on the High Street, set back from the road, and is found in front of a row of shops. The memorial is enclosed by a small wall which, like the surrounding shops, was not present when the memorial was erected.

The memorial is a 4m tall Cornish granite Celtic cross with triquetra carved in relief on the arms of the cross. The east and west faces of the shaft are carved with an interlace pattern in relief from the plinth to the base of the cross. The tapering plinth has cyclopean rustication at each corner, and sits on four rough-hewn granite steps.

The west face of the memorial is inscribed: 1914 1919 / IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF / THE MEN OF HAILSHAM / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN / THE GREAT WAR / THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE / . All three other faces of the plinth are inscribed with the names of the fallen.

A rectangular commemorative stone slab sits on the steps on the west face of the memorial, surrounded by a shallow iron railing. The slab is inscribed: 1939 1945 / OUR GRATITUDE IS / GIVEN ALSO TO THOSE BRAVE / SONS OF HAILSHAM WHO DIED / TO VINDICATE THE SACRIFICE / OF THEIR FATHERS / WE SHALL ALWAYS REMEMBER / .

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 an unprecedented wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and 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 Hailsham, as permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

The Hailsham cross was commissioned by the Parish Council as the second part of a two part scheme to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First World War. Land was donated for the memorial by JSO Robertson-Luxford. The contractor for the memorial was Mr K Thornton, who agreed to work at cost price with his father, Alfred Thornton. The first part of the scheme was the conversion of a building to a Memorial Institute, with reading room and library. The Institute was opened on 20 December 1919.
The memorial was unveiled on 28 November 1920 by Lord Leconfield, Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, with an accompanying dedication service by Rev Preb F Clyde Harvey. The contribution of women to the war effort was acknowledged in Lord Leconfield’s speech.

The Roll of Honour initially comprised 77 names, but an additional 11 names were added at a later date. Some of the later additions died of wounds after the memorial had been completed, while others (including two highly decorated soldiers) were simply omitted from the Roll of Honour. The absence of a complete record of names was acknowledged during the unveiling, as a call for further names was issued during the ceremony. A further six fallen soldiers from Hailsham not commemorated on this or other memorials in Hailsham have been identified in recent years.

A tablet bearing the names of the fallen from the Second World War was added to the memorial in November 1949. A tablet commemorating a recipient of the Victoria Cross was added in 2016.

The land behind the memorial was let by the council to the ‘Comrades of the Great War’ who built a wooden memorial hut. The hut was moved in the 1960s.

Reasons for Listing

Hailsham War Memorial, erected in 1920, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

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

* Design: a Celtic cross on top of a tall shaft with interlaced relief sculpture, standing on a rusticated square plinth;

* Group value: with the Grade II buildings on the High Street.

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