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Northam War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Northam, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0372 / 51°2'13"N

Longitude: -4.2143 / 4°12'51"W

OS Eastings: 244846

OS Northings: 128757

OS Grid: SS448287

Mapcode National: GBR KJ.GVM1

Mapcode Global: FRA 262C.S02

Plus Code: 9C3Q2QPP+V7

Entry Name: Northam War Memorial

Listing Date: 9 February 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1452489

Location: Northam, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Northam

Built-Up Area: Northam

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


A First World War memorial, unveiled in 1920, with later additions for the Second World War. It was moved to its current location between 1980 and 1995.


A First World War memorial, unveiled in 1920, with later additions for the Second World War. It was moved to its current location between 1980 and 1995.

MATERIAL: ashlar stone.

DESCRIPTION: it consists of a two-tiered base topped by a square, tapering pedestal and the carved figure of Liberty holding a torch in her raised right hand. Around the top of the pedestal is a biblical quote from Samuel 1:25:16; THE MEN WERE VERY GOOD UNTO US/ THEY WERE A WALL UNTO US/ BOTH BY NIGHT AND DAY. Below, in recessed panels on all sides of the pedestal, are the names of the Fallen. At the bottom of the pedestal, on its north side, raised lettering reads NORTHAM WAR MEMORIAL/ 1914 - 1919/ THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE. Chamfered stones added to the north side of the base contain the names of the parishioners who died in the Second World War and the dates of that conflict.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 27 February 2018.


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

Northam War Memorial was erected at the cost of around £800 and was unveiled on Saturday 7 August 1920. At this point only the pedestal was in place; the statue had not been completed in time for the ceremony and was added shortly afterwards. A contemporary news report notes that when completed it would ‘undoubtedly be one of the most important of its kind in the district.’ Unusually the statue depicts the personification of Liberty; it is identified in Dr Todd Gray's study of Devon memorials (2010) as the only example of this design in the county.

The memorial was originally set upon a raised octagonal enclosure of stone and surrounded by post and chain-link railings. The memorial was moved to its present location when the B3236 was extended through Northam between 1980 and 1995. The enclosure and railings were not retained; nor was the lower tier of the base. In its new location, the memorial is set within a square paved area with a short footpath leading from the pavement to the memorial.

Reasons for Listing

Northam War Memorial 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:

* the Liberty statue is well modelled and expressive, and is the only example of its kind used as a war memorial in the county.

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