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War Memorial at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Hinckley, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5438 / 52°32'37"N

Longitude: -1.3656 / 1°21'56"W

OS Eastings: 443117

OS Northings: 294186

OS Grid: SP431941

Mapcode National: GBR 7LZ.HK2

Mapcode Global: VHCSX.8BW7

Entry Name: War Memorial at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

Listing Date: 18 June 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1454914

Location: Hinckley and Bosworth, Leicestershire, LE10

County: Leicestershire

District: Hinckley and Bosworth

Electoral Ward/Division: Hinckley De Montfort

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Hinckley

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Summary


First World War memorial, unveiled 30 September 1922, with Second World War additions.

Description

First World War memorial, 1922, with Second World War additions.

DESCRIPTION: The war memorial at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Hinckley, is located to the north-west of the church. It stands over the former vault of the now demolished 1950s church, and within an area of hard and soft landscaping facing, the main access road to the current church.

The memorial is of Portland stone and takes the form of a tall Calvary cross; a Latin cross with a large sculptural depiction of the Crucifixion to the north face. The figure of Christ is carved in detail with a halo surrounding his head. Above this, on the vertical arm of the cross, is a scroll, carved in relief, containing the monogram INRI. The cross rises from a square plinth with moulded upper corners, which surmounts a two-stepped, square base. The plinth carries the inscriptions and names in incised lettering, painted black.

The principal inscription is to the north face of the plinth and reads, PRAY FOR THE REPOSE/ OF THESE MEMBERS OF/ ST PETER'S CONGREGATION HINCKLEY/ WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES/ 1914 - FOR GOD AND THEIR COUNTRY - 1918/ (36 NAMES)/ REQUIESCANT IN PACE.

To the east face of the plinth is the Second World War dedication, PRAY FOR THE REPOSE/ OF THESE MEMBERS OF/ ST PETER'S CONGREGATION HINCKLEY/ WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES/ 1939 - FOR GOD AND THEIR COUNTRY - 1945/ (11 NAMES)/ REQUIESCANT IN PACE/ (1 NAME).

History

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 St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Hickley as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the 36 members of the congregation who lost their lives in the First World War. Commissioned by the congregation of the church, it was originally situated within its grounds immediately adjacent to the transept. The memorial was unveiled on 30 September 1922 by Earl of Denbigh, with the dedication undertaken by the Reverend Joseph Mundy.

Following the Second World War, the names of the 11 men from the congregation who died in that conflict were added to the memorial. A further name was added at a later date.

In 1958 the church was deemed too small for the growing congregation and a new church was built to the north, the old church was later demolished in the 1970s. Due to structural faults the 1958 church was demolished in the early 1990s and another built on land to the east. The memorial was relocated three times during this period of demolition and rebuilding before moving for a forth time to its current position. Historic photographs indicate that the memorial cross originally stood on a three-stepped base, however, the lowermost step has since gone. This is presumed to have occurred during one of the relocations of the memorial. The sculpture of Christ has also suffered some minor damage to the feet with the big toes broken off at some stage.

The current site of the memorial is over the vault of the 1950s church, which contains the bones of Dominican priests from the early C19 when St Peter's parish became the first Dominican priory in the country after the Reformation. The vault is denoted by a white Latin cross on the ground in front of the war memorial.

Reasons for Listing

The war memorial at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Hinkley, 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 Calvary cross memorial demonstrating fine craftsmanship in the sculptural depiction of Christ.

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