Memorials

Exton War Memorial

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We were approached for help by a resident of Exton in mid 2019 about how to have their war memorial cleaned.

Based on our experience of using Independent Memorial Inspection with whom we had worked at Hallaton and Uppingham, we were able to recommend their services and also offered a modest contribution of £500 towards the cost.

There are two memorials in the little Memorial Garden – a traditional cross and a tablet in the wall with names of the men from Exton and Whitwell who died.

The cross was in a very grubby state and the tablet was beginning to be discoloured. Both were carefully cleaned with super hot steam and absolutely no abrasives were used.

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Countesthorpe Cottage Homes – War Memorial

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The amount of persistence to have this memorial returned to Countesthorpe from it being in store at the City Museum lock up in Freemen’s Common was quite extraordinary.

Everyone in the Museum Service was very sympathetic to the idea but the difficulties were manifold. The Museum Service being accredited, has to follow exceedingly tight rules about handing artefacts to outside its keeping – rules which realistically only really apply to priceless, light and heat sensitive high value items not robust memorials.

This was further compounded by a past history of “ownership” by The Royal Leicestershire Regiment who had loaned it to the Museum Service and various transfer procedures required make the move to Countesthorpe Parish Council.

All this took an amazing amount of unscrambling and an appeal for practical rules to apply. Anyway, persistence paid off and it was duly erected on the Chapel wall in Countesthorpe Cemetery.

A rededication service was going to be held in April of 2020 but that of course has had to be postponed.

The glass panels are presumed to have originally displayed the Victoria Cross of Pte. William Buckingham and the Distinguished Conduct Medal of Coy. Sgt Major Frank Millington, two of The Leicester Regiments’ WW1 heroes.

As you can see it was worth the effort.

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Nevill Holt Hall gate plaques

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Our involvement in this was very low key but nonetheless an important result was achieved.

When Nevill Holt Hall was sold to a private individual having been a Preparatory School since 1919, for some reason the two WW2 memorial plaques were removed from the large, ornate gates.

This was drawn to our attention in January 2017. When we approached the owner he confirmed that they had indeed been taken down and would be re-erected in the chapel. However, the chapel being an integral part of the house and also in private hands was unacceptable.

In mid-2018 the Harborough District Council Conservation Officer became involved and the plaques were restored to their rightful position on the ornamental gates where they can be viewed by all.

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Uppingham Town War Memorial

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In 2017 we were approached by a resident of Uppingham who knew of our work with war memorials and asked to have a look at the Uppingham Town memorial at the bottom of the churchyard on the Kettering Road

It was not in good condition; the surround was crumbling and sliding down hill and access was very poor across rough grass.

DSK held talks with the Town Clerk, who said that the plan was to clean and restore the memorial and at the same time create an attractive York stone surround and a new stone path across the grass, all in time for 11th November 2018.

We discussed this with Heritage Lottery Fund who agreed that we could use some of the money left over after the expiry of our grant period in helping this project.

We suggested that they use the specialist cleaning company used at Hallaton and agreed to give Uppingham a generous grant.

Everything was completed in time and this is the result.

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Hallaton War Memorial

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Hallaton War Memorial is unusual in that it was dedicated by the Suffragan Bishop of Leicester on April 3rd 1918 when the end of the war was no where in sight.

The reason for this very early construction and dedication is that the then Lord of the Manor of Hallaton was Mrs Effie Elizabeth Bewicke, who was a widow and childless and who doted on her nephew Calverley George Bewicke.

Calverley was a regular army officer in the Welsh Regiment and was killed at Pozières on the Somme on 26th July 1916. His aunt wanted to get on and commemorate him and his fellow Hallaton men and as it was “her” village, in June 1916 she asked the Parish Council if they would agree to have a memorial erected on the village green which of course they did. She commissioned a well known architect, Paul Waterhouse to design it and for the base he mirrored the round tiered base of the famous old Buttercross using a multitude of different types of stone. There were a total of 21 names.

Over the years it had lost its glow. So in time for the centenary of its dedication, ARWMP and the Parish Council agreed to have it steam cleaned by a specialist company.

It looks splendid.

The war memorial now has 41 names of men associated with the village from the Great War and four from World War 2.

 

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St Michael and All Angels, Edmondthorpe

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We were approached to see if we could help in any way. After various permissions had been sought, it was decided that the best solution was for a new plaque to be erected in the porch with exactly the same wording as the original.

This was carried out by Phil Langmead of Barham Stone of Market Harborough and we were delighted to be able to pay the full cost of £582 including VAT.

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Woodhouse Eaves – War Memorial

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In November 2017 we were visited on one of our Open Days by a couple who had with them a framed paper War Memorial that was so badly water damaged that it was barely legible.

It had been found tucked behind a cupboard against a damp wall in St Paul’s Church, Woodhouse Eaves. It was a real mess and we were afraid that the paper had stuck to the glass

We approached the Record Office to see if they could help and sure enough, they had a conservator to whom we took it.

A few months later it was returned to us and we were very happy to pay the modest sum demanded to be able to return this interesting piece to nearly its original condition and be able to read all the lettering.

It is of particular note that it refers to the “European War 1914 – 1915”. In other words it was a very early memorial template produced by the ecclesiastical printers Mowbrays when it was still hoped that the war would soon be over.

The last death actually recorded on the sheet was 24th April 1917 but realistically there was much space left blank for further names. In fact on the granite shrine in the churchyard, there were a further 10 later deaths where dates are recorded and seven unrecorded, which almost certainly were after April 1917.

A Special Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving was held on Sunday 29th July 2018.

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Rifleman Jeremy English – Memorial cross at St. Luke’s, Thurnby

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Chris Stephens was aware that in the churchyard there was an unusual WW2 memorial to Rifleman Jeremy John English, 12th Bn. King’s Royal Rifle Corps, killed at Cleves (Kleve) in Germany near the Dutch border on February 10th 1945. Being of wood and standing outside it had warped, deteriorated badly and the foot of the post embedded in a concrete block was starting to rot.

We endeavoured to see if there were any relatives still living in the village but could find no one.

After discussions with the Parochial Church Council, we removed and stabilised it but did not alter the wood, apart from splicing in a new base to the shaft.

We then made a wrought iron stand hand and had it placed inside the church next to the other war memorials.

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Claremont Street Methodist Church

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Claremont Street Methodists have a long and distinguished history. Originally founded as an informal gathering in a cottage by labouring people in Belgrave in 1820, they soon outgrew the available space and moved to a cow shed on Checkett’s Lane.

With numbers continuing to grow a purpose built first a chapel and then in 1877 a church was constructed with a school building alongside a few years later.

The interior was equally impressive.

Like so many other religious organisations, numbers declined and eventually the church building being too large, was demolished in 1994 and worship continued in the Sunday School building alongside.

In April 2014 Chris Stephens had found that the war memorial, having been removed prior to demolition of the main church building was stored in a cupboard. He proposed to the Minister that it could be re-erected on the hall wall and ARWMP offered to pay to have this done.

The work was duly carried out and a rededication service was held on 1st August 2014. [Awaiting photograph]

Having paid for this memorial to be re-erected in the meeting room in 2014, it is with great sadness that in late 2021 we had to take it into care on the closure of the church.

The history of this church dates back to 1820 – only five years after the battle of Waterloo!

Originally a group of labouring people meeting to worship in a cottage on the green of Belgrave village.

Numbers grew steadily and in 1880 the main handsome church was built with a fine gallery. With growth continuing the schools (right of church) were added in 1904.

Like so many memorials, the wording gives no clue as to its origin hence the urgent need to carefully preserve its heritage.

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Holy Trinity, Loughborough, WW1 and WW2 triptych

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Standing rather forlornly leaning against a wall in the base of the tower at All Saints was this very handsome small triptych in carved wood. It was originally from Holy Trinity, Moor Lane, Loughborough a fairly undistinguished Victorian church designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield built in 1878. The church closed many years ago and the building is occupied by a social services department and the war memorial was taken out and sent to All Saints.

The church building may have possessed little merit but the WW1 memorial is an outstanding piece.

It became part of the overall relocation plan at All Saints so it now has a safe and permanent home.

 

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All Saints, Loughborough

Memorial without WW1 tablets high up on a wall and also difficult to view.
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When we were first setting up ARWMP in 2013, Chris and I visited All Saints, Loughborough, the main church in town. We were `appalled to see that the fine WW1 memorial was high up in a walled off part of the South aisle and impossible to see clearly.

Not only that, but the tablets flanking either side which can be seen in the photograph were in fact the WW2 tablets and the three WW1 tablets were just dumped on the floor under the high altar. Extraordinary.

We contacted the PCC and were put in touch with a group who was just starting to plan the re- ordering process with English Heritage and the Diocesan authorities to rectify this along with other changes to the church layout.

It was a very large project of which the relocation of the restored memorials to a better position on the North aisle wall would cost some £32,000 including the removal of some slate donor tablets and reconfiguration of some pews.

At that time in our history we were fairly well off, having received a most generous grant from HLF. After many meetings we made an offer to support this work to the tune of £15,000.

The end result was a readily accessible WW1 memorial, reunited with its three WW1 tablets of names along with the two WW2 tablets.

It was a large sum of money for us to spend but had we not done so, the project in Loughborough would have dragged on while these additional funds were raised. It was a great boost to the WW1 centenary events in that town.

For details of the low down round headed memorial see the next page about Holy Trinity, Loughborough.

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Uppingham Lower School

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One of the most extraordinary cases we have dealt with was this large Roll of Honour.

Denis Kenyon’s two sons had attended Nevill Holt Preparatory School near Medbourne and firmly in the County of Leicestershire. Over many years I had seen this board in the dining hall listing 189 OLD BOYS and seven MASTERS who served in the Great War with those who died having a small cross against their name.

Being in a school the natural conclusion was that the memorial was connected to that school. The school closed in 1998 and the building – a wonderful Hall, was bought as a private house in the year 2000. I wondered what had happened to the memorial.

In 2013 I found it just propped against the wall in Nevill Holt Church which was also now in private hands.

It was only after I started to investigate some of the names on the board and spoke to my friend the now long retired last headmaster, did I learn that it had no connection with Nevill Holt School.

Where had it come from and why was it there? Research on the names listed and a few lucky clues lead me to the fact that it was originally from Uppingham Lower School but where had that been and why was it now in Nevill Holt? A lot of fun was had in tracking down the present location and it turned out to be Uppingham School’s, The Lodge, Sixth Form Girl’s Boarding House.

Apparently in 1919 the Rev Bowlker, owner and headmaster of the totally independent Uppingham Lower School had a spectacular falling out with the then headmaster of the main Uppingham School, and so took his boys, their beds and the Board to the empty Nevill Holt Hall and there it stayed.

So not only was it in the wrong school, it was also in the wrong County! The Housemistress of The Lodge was contacted and enthusiastically agreed to have it back. When we went to have a look, there was the still exact sized empty space on the wall from whence it originally came.

On 27th April 2014 a moving rededication service was held with the Headmaster and some 60 people present. Better still, my wife and I were invited to stay for lunch and were served Spotted Dick and custard! Absolutely delicious.

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St Peter’s, Storer Road, Loughborough

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In 2013 we learnt that the Elim Pentecostal Church had taken over the redundant Church of England St. Peter’s, Storer Road Loughborough. We also knew that there had been a magnificent triptych war memorial and wondered what its fate might be.

We contacted the Pastor, the Reverend Paul Stevens who immediately invited us over. It was in a store room and its significance had not been fully appreciated but nevertheless he was very keen to help in having it re-erected. We walked round the superbly re-modelled modern interior of the building, with its meeting rooms, full services and even a fully functioning café serving the hundreds of students living near by.

There was virtually no clear wall space to fit this large 9 feet x 9 feet exceedingly heavy memorial until we came to just inside the new glass front door at the East end. It fitted well.

Chris Stevens and Denis Kenyon cleaned it up and we paid a stone mason to fit it to the wall.

On 5th November 2013 a Re- dedication Service was held attended by some 16 people, some of whom were descendants of those listed. The names on the memorial were read and the exhortation was spoken along with a few short prayers.

We are exceedingly grateful to the Rev. Stevens for his enthusiastic support.

This splendid memorial was restored to its former glory. We have copies at All Saints of the original correspondence about its creation which was not without a certain amount of friction in the parish.

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South Leicestershire Working Men’s Club WW2 Roll of Honour and Memorial

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South Leicestershire Working Men’s Club WW2 Roll of Honour & Memorial, Burnmoor Street moved to St. Andrews Church, Jarrom
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This was instigated by Chris Stephens in 2006 some six years before the ARWM Project had started. He had been speaking on Radio Leicester in his role as a Regional Volunteer for War Memorials Trust.

A Mr George Geary a member of the Working Men’s Club had taken it home when the Club was closed in 1998 and stored it in his garden shed.

Mr Geary happened to be listening and contacted Chris, who with the cooperation of Richard Gill, the churchwarden and Neville Iliffe, arranged for it to be re-erected alongside their own memorial in St Andrew’s Church in whose parish the Club had been situated.

An early inspiring example of initiative taken to preserve what might have been lost forever.

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Inglehurst Board School Roll of Honour and George Geoffrey Parmiter plaque

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The Victorian church of St Augustine which had served the expanding area of Leicester in Newfoundpool, was closed in 2002 and subsequently attacked and set on fire by vandals and squatters and the place rendered a total wreck.

Long before ARWMP had been formed, one of our founders Chris Stephens, had taken the initiative and arranged to move the Inglehurst Board School Roll of Honour listing the names of 831 men who served of whom 352 died, to its nearest successor establishment, Inglehurst Infant School.

Even there it nearly suffered loss again. In 2008 the hall in the infant’s school caught fire with burning polystyrene tiles dripping from the roof. The quick thinking fire-fighters seeing the potential for catastrophe immediately removed the Rolls of Honour and placed them outside on the grass. They were saved!

In the church there had been another very fine memorial. This one was to George Geoffrey Parmiter. He was the son of the first vicar of the parish who died of fever on 11th January 1918 serving with 648th Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps in East Africa. He is buries in Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery in what is now known as Tanzania. His memorial had disgracefully originally been marked for auction. Chris stepped in and had it moved to St Mary de Castro where it remains still.

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Corporal William Butler Wright, Royal Engineers

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This little memorial which is the plate on the lip of the sloping top of a reading desk or lectern was taken into our care in 2019. It came to us thanks to a discussion Denis Kenyon was having on air at BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson.

A listener rang my phone and hurried over as they were desperate to find a home for it. It came from the now demolished Holy Rood Church in Bagworth and unfortunately no organisation there was able to take it in.

Corporal Wright, service number 4864281, 107 Field Coy. Royal Engineers, the son of Harry and Ellen Wright of Bagworth was involved in the invasion of Sicily code named Operation Husky. He is buried in Syracuse in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.

It is only a small item but none the less precious for that and we are proud to give it a home.

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All of the memorials displayed on this page have changed from being At Risk to Restored to Glory with the help of our team and supporters.

Many more are still at risk...

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