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Selsey War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Selsey, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7366 / 50°44'11"N

Longitude: -0.7882 / 0°47'17"W

OS Eastings: 485610

OS Northings: 93696

OS Grid: SZ856936

Mapcode National: GBR DHX.RKB

Mapcode Global: FRA 9774.8S2

Entry Name: Selsey War Memorial

Listing Date: 23 April 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1455360

Location: Selsey, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester

Civil Parish: Selsey

Built-Up Area: Selsey

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex


A First World War Celtic wheel cross memorial, with additional inscriptions from the Second World War and the Korean War.


First World War memorial, erected 1920.

MATERIALS: Portland stone and sandstone.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial is aligned with the pathway to the south porch of the Church of St Peter and set into the line of the boundary wall of the churchyard.

The memorial takes the form of a Celtic wheel cross on a slender shaft adorned with Celtic knot-work carving. The memorial stands on a low plinth with a three-stepped base, set on a square rough-hewn pedestal. The panel on the front face of the pedestal is inscribed 1914 TO THE GLORY OF GOD 1919/ AND IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF SELSEY WHO FELL IN THE/ GREAT WAR with 57 names below. The date 1953 and a single further name (Korean War) are inscribed below the original name panel on the pedestal.

The cross is flanked by two inward curving quadrant rubble walls with ashlar copings and quoins. The copings on each side are dated 1939 - 1945 with 48 names on stone plaques in the wall below. The semi-circular area enclosed by the walls has block paving and an affixed metal bar to support wreaths.


The concept of commemorating war dead did not develop to any great extent until towards the end of the C19. Prior to then memorials were rare and were mainly dedicated to individual officers, or sometimes regiments. The first large-scale erection of war memorials dedicated to the ordinary soldier followed the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, which was the first major war following reforms to the British Army which led to regiments being recruited from local communities and with volunteer soldiers. However, it was the aftermath of the First World War that was the great age of memorial building, 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.

The memorial at Selsey was erected as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the community who lost their lives in the First World War. It commemorates 57 servicemen who died during the First World War (1914-1918), 48 in the Second World War (1939-1945) and one in the Korean War (1950-1953).

The wheel cross memorial, erected in 1920, stands in front of the Church of St Peter (Grade II; National Heritage List for England 1026266). In the mid-1860s the original parish church at Church Norton (approximately two miles north) was truncated and converted to a serve as a chapel and the new parish church was established on the High Street; the 1860s design by J P St Aubyn incorporates the late C12 arcades of three bays of the original church.

Reasons for Listing

Selsey 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 the local community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;

Architectural interest:

* as a well composed and finely detailed Celtic cross memorial flanked by inward curving quadrant rubble walls which carry well-preserved inscriptions.

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