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Beccles War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Beccles, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.454 / 52°27'14"N

Longitude: 1.5607 / 1°33'38"E

OS Eastings: 642025

OS Northings: 289967

OS Grid: TM420899

Mapcode National: GBR XMK.5CP

Mapcode Global: VHM6K.0LF4

Plus Code: 9F43FH36+H7

Entry Name: Beccles War Memorial

Listing Date: 15 January 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1461532

Location: Beccles, East Suffolk, Suffolk, NR34

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Beccles

Built-Up Area: Beccles

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk


First World War memorial, unveiled and dedicated in 1921, with Second World War and later additions. It was designed by Gerald Cogswell of London and executed by HA King of Beccles.

The modern flagstone paths are not integral to the memorial's original design and are excluded from the listing.


First World War memorial, unveiled and dedicated in 1921, with Second World War and later additions. It was designed by Gerald Cogswell of London and executed by HA King of Beccles.

MATERIALS: of Portland stone.

DETAILS: the memorial stands in a prominent roadside position at the junction between St Mary's Road and Priory Road, around 108m to the north-west of Beccles and District War Memorial Hospital (opened 1924).

The memorial, which stands some 7m high, comprises a small, decorated Latin cross set atop a tall, tapering, octagonal shaft. The north-west (front) face of the shaft bears a carved wreath containing an IHS Christogram. The shaft stands on a tall, square plinth, the faces of which are inscribed with the names of the fallen, which in turn sits on a square, two-stepped base. The whole stands on a larger octagonal base which was designed to be used as a bench seat. It has a chamfered top with stone quoins and knapped flint and dressed stone infill to the riser.

The top of the plinth is inscribed with the dedicatory inscription: "IN HONOUR OF THE MEN OF (north-west) // BECCLES - WHO GAVE THEIR (south-west) // LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY (south-east) // IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918 (north-east)". Each of the four faces beneath the inscription lists the names of the First World War fallen, divided by service and regiment and listed by rank.

Later inscriptions have been added to the faces of the octagonal base. On the north-west face is the Second Word War dedication which reads "ALSO HONOURING THOSE WHO DIED / IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR / 1939 - 1945 / AND THEREAFTER', with the north and west faces bearing the names of the fallen. The names of single individuals who died in the Korean and Afghanistan Wars are inscribed on the west and south-west faces respectively.

The war memorial stands within an octagonal-shaped gravelled area across which eight flagstone paths lead to each face of the base.


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: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Beccles as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the 202 members of the local community who lost their lives during the conflict. It was unveiled and dedicated on 1 October 1921 by Sir T Courtenay Warner, MP and Lord Lieutenant of the County, and executed by Mr HA King of Beccles, from a design by Gerald Cogswell of London. The memorial was placed at the junction of St Mary's Road and Priory Road, adjacent to an area of land on which the Beccles and District War Memorial Hospital opened in 1924. It was erected at a cost of £700, which was raised by public subscription.

Following the Second World War a dedication was added to commemorate the 47 parishioners who fell in that conflict. The names of single individuals killed in the Korean and Afghanistan Wars have subsequently been added.

In the late C20 the octagonal enclosure surrounding the memorial, which was originally bounded by iron railings, was landscaped with flagstone paths and gravel.

Reasons for Listing

Beccles War Memorial, unveiled and dedicated in 1921 to a design by George Cogswell of London, with Second World War and later additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* as an accomplished and well-realised war memorial which takes the form of a Latin cross.

Group value:

* with the Beccles and District War Memorial Hospital (opened in 1924).

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