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Pirbright War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Pirbright, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2943 / 51°17'39"N

Longitude: -0.6477 / 0°38'51"W

OS Eastings: 494385

OS Northings: 155886

OS Grid: SU943558

Mapcode National: GBR FBN.YW5

Mapcode Global: VHFV6.QQFN

Plus Code: 9C3X79V2+PW

Entry Name: Pirbright War Memorial

Listing Date: 25 March 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1461910

Location: Pirbright, Guildford, Surrey, GU24

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Pirbright

Built-Up Area: Pirbright

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey


First World War memorial, unveiled 1920 with a Second World War commemorative plaque added .


First World War memorial of 1920 by Frederick Brook Hitch.

MATERIALS: stone with carved wooden cross and figure of Christ.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial consists of a finely-carved wooden Calvary cross on a four-step stone plinth. At the base there are four rectangular stone plaques laid horizontally amongst square paving stones. The frontal plaque carries the inscription “GREATER LOVE / HATH NO MAN / THAN THIS THAT / A MAN LAY / DOWN HIS LIFE / FOR HIS FRIENDS” (John 15:13). The two flanking stones bear the names of 48 of the fallen from the First World War, and another later plaque, set to the rear, marks 11 of the fallen from the Second World War.


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 Pirbright War Memorial was unveiled 13 August 1920 by the Bishop of Guildford, John Randolph (1866-1936) to commemorate 48 local men who fell in the First World War. The Calvary cross memorial was designed by Frederick Brook Hitch (1897-1957), a prominent British sculptor of the early C20 also responsible for significant London memorials, including the Submariners Memorial (listed Grade II*; NHLE 1079109) and the memorial plaques for the Animals War Memorial Dispensary (Grade II; NHLE 1359403). Following the Second World War, the names of the local men who died in this conflict were inscribed on an additional memorial plaque. The memorial remains in generally good condition (in 2019). Minor maintenance work, including the repointing of split and loose joints was conducted in August 2017.

Reasons for Listing

Pirbright War Memorial at the Church of St Michael and All Angels 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 finely carved wooden Calvary cross monument by Frederick Brook Hitch, a prominent British sculptor of the period.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Michael and All Angels (Grade II*) along with the Stanley Memorial and Church Cottage (both Grade II) .

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