In Memoriam

Clair Shields – Planning Policy Officer/Building Conservation Officer

The War Memorials Trust are offering up to 75% grants over the next 3 years to maintain war memorials – specifically marking World War I but earlier or later might qualify too. The grant can be used for example for structural advice or to ensure that inscriptions remain legible. See here for more information – LINK.

The Trust want to conserve the built heritage of these monuments and to ensure that the shared meaning behind the individual memorials continues to be remembered.

Many communities have their own memorials to those local people who died in the major conflicts of the 20th century. These memorials record the sacrifice made by individuals and their communities, for the nation. The memorial below is in the village of Kilburn, set into the church wall. It is a carved bust of a soldier with a simple inscription that reads ‘For King/For Country/For God’.

Great War Memorial in Kilburn cc-by-sa/2.0 © Phil Catterall

Lythe War Memorial in the churchyard of Lythe Church was erected c. 1920. It was re-engraved as part of a project funded through the previous LEADER Small Scale Enhancement Scheme in 2010 to ensure the inscription remained legible. It records the names of 16 local men lost in the recent war, and also seven unknown sailors whose bodies washed up on the shore during the war and were buried by the Parish.

Re-engraving the inscription on the Lythe War Memorial - copyright NYMNPA

In November 2015 the Lythe War Memorial was listed by Historic England as part of its ongoing War Memorials Listing Project. The listing for the Lythe Memorial records that it is ‘an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the twentieth century’.

 Lythe War Memorial - copyright NYMNPA

Rosedale Reading Room Memorial Plaque - from Rosedale Reading Room gable end there is a memorial tablet listing the names of the dead from the ‘Great War’. The names recorded are familiar because their families still live in and around Rosedale and so provide a direct link between the past and the present. Like the Lythe Memorial the tablet is dated to c. 1920. The years immediately after World War I saw a nationwide undertaking of memorialisation, so that the recent lost would not be forgotten now that the war to end all wars was over.

Not all War Memorials mark more modern conflicts. One of the biggest war memorials within the North York Moors is the Nelson Gate at Sproxton Corner, a triumphal arch built in 1806 to commemorate Lord Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. The Gate is thought to be one of the earliest monuments to be dedicated to Nelson, built only a year after his death in 1805. This earlier laudation of a celebrated national hero is in contrast to the 20th century idea of the sacrifice of the many.

Nelson Gate entablature - copyright NYMNPA

For those who manage or care for war memorials or a memorial garden, Historic England provide practical advice to help with the conservation, protection and maintenance of these local monuments that stand at the heart of almost every community.

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