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Countesthorpe War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Countesthorpe, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.5537 / 52°33'13"N

Longitude: -1.1378 / 1°8'16"W

OS Eastings: 458556

OS Northings: 295444

OS Grid: SP585954

Mapcode National: GBR 8NF.TD6

Mapcode Global: VHCT1.72CN

Plus Code: 9C4WHV36+FV

Entry Name: Countesthorpe War Memorial

Listing Date: 4 April 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1454780

Location: Countesthorpe, Blaby, Leicestershire, LE8

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Countesthorpe

Built-Up Area: Countesthorpe

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire


First World War memorial, unveiled by 24 November 1921 and designed by G Maile and Son, with Second World War addition.


First World War memorial, 1921, with Second World War addition

DESCRIPTION: Countesthorpe War Memorial is located in the churchyard, adjacent to the east end of the Church of St Andrew (Grade II-listed). It stands within a paved area that overlooks the main road.

The memorial is of rough-hewn Cornish granite and takes the form of a wheel-head cross with an inverted sword carved in relief to the east face; the sword has a trefoil to the pommel and at each end of the cross guard. The cross shaft rises from a tapering, four-sided plinth, which surmounts a single-step base. The whole stands on a narrow, square concrete foundation.

A bronze wreath with scroll is affixed to the bottom of the cross shaft on the east side; the scroll contains the words IN MEMORIAM in raised lettering. The wreath encircles a small bronze plaque, which carries the following dedication, also in raised lettering, ERECTED BY/ THE EX-SERVICE MEN/ OF COUNTESTHORPE/ UNVEILED BY/ H.R.H. THE DUKE OF YORK/ 24TH NOVEMBER 1921./ G. MAILE AND SON/ SCULPTORS AND CONTRACTORS/ 365-367 EUSTON ROAD/ LONDON. N. W. 1.

The principal dedication and names are carried on the plinth in leaded lettering and within smooth, inset panels. The dedication is to the east face of the plinth and reads, TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN HONOURED MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF COUNTESTHORPE/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1918./ "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS/ THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.” The names of the 48 men who died are recorded on the north and south faces.

To the top left corner of the north face of the base is another small inset panel bearing the maker’s name in leaded lettering, MAILE AND SON/ EUSTON RD LONDON.

A wedge-shaped, rough-hewn granite tablet was added to the east face of the base of the memorial carrying the Second World War dedication in leaded lettering, 1939 - 1945/ (17 NAMES).


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

It was originally erected in The Square, outside the King William IV Inn; designed and supplied by G Maile and Son of Euston Road, London at a cost of £245 10s 6d. Maile and Son were sculptors and church furnishers who were also responsible for building many war memorials across the country, a number of which are listed. The memorial was unveiled on 24 November 1921 by HRH the Duke of York, in recognition of Countesthorpe having suffered the heaviest casualties relative to its size of population, as was believed at the time. It originally commemorated 47 local servicemen who died in the First World War (187 local men served in total from a population of 1,200). The memorial was dedicated by the Venerable Archdeacon of Leicester F B Macnutt.

Following the Second World War, a wedge-shaped stone tablet was placed at the base of the memorial carrying the dates of the conflict and the names of the 17 men who died. At the request of the local branch of the Royal British Legion, who wanted to protect it from vandalism, it was agreed to move the memorial in 1949 to the parish churchyard.

The name of William Buckingham, VC, was added to the list of First World War casualties on the north face of the plinth in around 1986.

Reasons for Listing

Countesthorpe War Memorial, which is situated in St Andrew’s churchyard, 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 sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* a well-executed wheel-head cross memorial demonstrating fine craftsmanship with the carved Sword of Sacrifice and bronze wreath.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Andrew (Grade II-listed).

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