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Stony Stratford War Memorial Cross

A Grade II Listed Building in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.0544 / 52°3'16"N

Longitude: -0.8522 / 0°51'7"W

OS Eastings: 478801

OS Northings: 240184

OS Grid: SP788401

Mapcode National: GBR BYN.1CW

Mapcode Global: VHDSZ.5MVF

Entry Name: Stony Stratford War Memorial Cross

Listing Date: 6 September 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1458633

Location: Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, MK11

County: Milton Keynes

Civil Parish: Stony Stratford

Built-Up Area: Milton Keynes

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Summary

First World War memorial cross by Cecil G Hare, unveiled 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.

Description

The approximately 6m tall Doulting stone war memorial stands in a Garden of Remembrance on Horsefair Green, in close proximity to numerous Grade II-listed buildings and the Grade II*-listed Burnham House. It takes the form of a foliated and raguly cross-head rising from the moulded collar of a tapering cross shaft, octagonal in section. The front face of the cross-head carried a small bronze reversed sword. The shaft transitions into a broader stem, square on plan, with a moulded foot. That stands on the capped pedestal. The pedestal stands on a four-stepped, octagonal, base.

The front face of the cross stem is ornamented with a shield bearing a cross, carved in low relief. Below this a bronze plaque is let into the stonework, recording 46 First World War names. A similar plaque on the other side records the other 46 names.

The edges of the front and rear faces of the pedestal are formed into engaged columns, that flank bronze plaques. The principal dedicatory inscription to the north-east of these plaques reads + TO THE GLORY/ OF GOD./ IN GRATEFUL MEMORY/ OF THOSE OF THIS TOWN/ WHO FELL IN/ THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-1918. The south-west plaque reads ALSO/ IN MEMORY OF/ (18 NAMES)/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE WAR/ 1939 – 1945.

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 Stony Stratford as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 92 members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

Dr Cecil Powell presided over a well attended meeting at the Public Hall on 6 January 1919 to consider the form that a war memorial should take. Various options were considered including a memorial hall, swimming baths, a library, and clock chimes. It was agreed to form a representative committee that would report back to the meeting. By March 1920 a cross and clock had been selected at an estimated cost of £1,000 with the suggested site being in the school playground opposite the tram terminus.

An alternative site on Horsefair Green was eventually chosen, having been donated and prepared by Stony Stratford Street Commissioners. The foundation stone for a memorial cross had been laid by May 1920 and the memorial was unveiled on 21 June by Lord Cottesloe. Donations of £361 1s 3d were received towards the estimated cost of £360. The memorial was designed by Cecil G Hare and it was built by Messrs Woodbridge and Simpson. The garden of remembrance was laid out in 1922.

Following the Second World War the names of a further 18 men who died in that conflict were added to the memorial.

Cecil Greenwood Hare (1875-1932), architect, was GF Bodley’s partner from 1906. He took over the practice on Bodley’s death in 1907. His work was predominantly ecclesiastical and includes a number of war memorials, such as the Grade II-listed crosses at Castle Donington (1921), Walford (1925), Tutbury (1920) and the Bedfordshire Regiment cross (1919) at Ampthill for the Duke of Bedford.

Reasons for Listing

Stony Stratford War Memorial, which stands on Horsefair Green, 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 tall and striking memorial cross designed by architect Cecil Greenwood Hare.

Group value:

* with numerous Grade II-listed buildings around the Green, and Burnham House (Grade II*).

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