Monument of the Month

September 2014
 
Row On Row (1)
 
      Historic Tewkesbury Abbey draws thousands of visitors each year to marvel at its rich architecture and outstanding monuments.  The Abbey, now the parish church of St Mary, has possibly the largest and most impressive Romanesque tower in England.  The West front is one of the finest original Norman examples now existing.  The chancel has superb 14C stained glass and throughout the Abbey there are magnificent vaults, many of the lierne style with interesting bosses.  There are three chantry chapels of the stone-cage type and the carved tombs and effigies are considered to be surpassed only by the royal ensemble at Westminster Abbey.(2)   On the roof of the Trinity Chapel is the unique life-size kneeling effigy of Lord Despenser praying towards the altar.  There is also a cadaver monument including five vermin crawling over the body.
 

      Although surrounded by such competing attractions it is noticeable that visitors who wander down the south aisle of the nave invariably stop at the simplest monument in the Abbey.

 
      This is the wooden battlefield cross of Gunner Walter Roberts who was killed in action July 2nd, 1918, while serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery, and is buried in the Canada Farm Cemetery, Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.  It was placed in Tewkesbury Abbey by his widow on the fifth anniversary of his death.
 
       A few miles from Tewkesbury, but still in Gloucestershire, another wooden cross can be found in St Peter's Church, Stanway.  This is even simpler than that of Gunner Roberts.  It commemorates 2/Lieutenant Hon Ivo Charteris (an initial 'J' is wrongly given on the cross) fourth son of the 11th Earl of Weymss.  He was killed in action at Loos on October 17th, 1915, while serving with the Grenadier Guards and is buried at Sailly Labourse.  An elder bother, Hugo Lord Elcho, was subsequently killed in action on April 23rd, 1916, in the Katia Desert, Sinai.  Their names are included on the war memorial in the church, cut into the splays of the C16 chancel window, with lettering by Eric Gill.
 
                     Gunner Walter Roberts                                  2/Lt Hon Ivo Charteris
 
      In death no distinction was made to military or social rank in the form of the wooden cross, a policy that was deliberately continued with the permanent grave stones which were all of the same dimensions (2'6''x1'6''x3'').  The manufacture of the crosses appears eventually to have devolved to the battalion's carpenters, so variations can be found although they all followed a basic form.
 
      Examples of crosses being made in the field on an ad hoc basis are known.  Amongst others,   siblings, acquaintances, members of the Grave Registration Commission and estate workers are known to have manufactured crosses.    The identifying of the graves was important to the relatives of the soldiers and for the morale of the troops.  Initially it had been hoped to repatriate all the bodies but the sheer number and cost rendered this impractical.  A few bodies were brought home privately by families with the means to do this.  However, it was quickly realised that only wealthy families would be able to do so.  The practice of repatriation was explicitly banned in 1915. 
 
      Gloucester Cathedral contains an impressive monument, on the north side of the nave, to Sir Fabian Ware.  Such was the regard in which he was held that the monument was paid for by public subscription.  A smaller stone inscribed 'In memoriam Fabian Ware 1869-1949' is located in St George's Chapel (formerly known as the Warriors Chapel) in Westminster Abbey.  Through the inspiration and determination of Sir Fabian Ware, more than any other individual, the recording of the location and details of graves of the soldiers in the battle zone was begun.  After the war he was instrumental in the formation of what is now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).(3,4)
 
      Having had a career in education and as an editor of a newspaper, Fabian Ware was 45 when the Great War broke out.  He attempted to volunteer but was considered too old to fight and instead joined the Red Cross.  A fluent French speaker, he arrived in France in September 1914 to command a mobile Red Cross ambulance unit.  He soon realised that there was no official body with the responsibility to record and care for the graves of the soldiers.  Therefore his unit began recording and caring for all the graves they could find.  The Army quickly recognised the importance of this work and he and his organisation were transferred from the Red Cross to the Army in 1915 as the Graves Registration Commission.  Ware was given the local rank of major.  By 1918 some 587,000 graves had been identified, while a further 559,000 were registered as having no known grave.
 
      He subsequently realised that something needed to be done to establish permanent cemeteries after the war in order to create lasting memorials to the fallen soldiers.  Through his tireless efforts the Imperial War Graves Commission was formed on the 21st of May, 1917, fronted by the Prince of Wales with Ware as the Vice-Chairman.  The Commission eventually changed Imperial in the title to Commonwealth (CWGC).  The highly decorated and esteemed Major General Sir Fabian Ware died April 29th, 1949, and is buried in the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church, Amberley, in Gloucestershire.  He was honoured by receiving a Commonwealth Grave style headstone which is maintained to this day by the CWGC.
 
                        Gloucester Cathedral                               Amberley churchyard
 
      Anyone who visits the CWGC cemeteries in Northern France and Belgium cannot but be moved by their dignified and immaculate appearance and saddened by the carnage occasioned by the Great War.  A similar sense of the sacrifice and loss can be experienced here by finding, proudly displayed in a local church, one of the wooden crosses.  During the war it was official policy to allow only the erection of wooden crosses rather than iron because of their lighter weight which made transportation easier in the field and also they could be readily replaced if damaged by enemy action.  When the permanent cemeteries were created it was planned to  have all the crosses pointing east.  This would satisfy both religious and military conventions.  When the crosses were replaced by the distinctive permanent Portland or Hopton Wood stone grave stones the wooden ones were made available to relatives.  Relatives could either travel to the battlefields to collect the wooden crosses or pay to have them shipped to England.  For many relatives they were the only memorial easily available to them.  These crosses became an important part of local remembrance and still exert a strong emotional appeal today.  A compilation of the location of First World War crosses used to be available on the internet but has now been removed.  It listed over 230 different sites in the UK.  Gloucestershire alone had some 14 site entries.
 
    With 2014 being the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War it is fitting to recall the final lines of 'The Cross of Wood' by the Gloucestershire poet Lieutenant Cyril Winterbothan.(5)  Serving with the 1st/5th  Gloucestershire regiment he was killed in action on August 27th , 1916, near Ovillers-la-Boiselle and is listed on the Thiepval memorial among the 72,085 names of those without a known grave.
 

'Rest you content; more honourable far

Than all the Orders is the Cross of Wood'

 

Notes

1.   Taken from the first verse of in Flanders Fields by the Canadian poet Major John McCrae.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

 

2.                  The Buildings Of England, Gloucestershire 2:  The Vale And The Forest of Dean, David Verey and Alan Brooks, Yale University Press, London, 2009, pp712-728.

3.                  www.cwgc.org

4.                  Empires of the Dead, David Crane, Harper Collins, 2013.

5.                  The Cross of Wood published in The Muse in Arms, editor E B Osborne, 1918.  The 'Wooden Cross' was submitted to the regimental trench newspaper the '5th Gloster' the day before Lieutenant Winterbothan was killed.

 

 
Robert Tucker
 
        Monument of the Month - Contributions Wanted!
This page is designed for the general reader and is intended to feature monuments of all types and all ages: those to the famous and to the unknown, those by famous sculptors and those by unknown local craftsmen, the artistically spendid and the simple but beautiful or curious. So far mostly members of the Council have contributed but contibutions are welcome from everybody - members or non-members of the Society. We would welcome a photograph or two and a short text telling us why the monument interests you: it may be of an ancestor, of someone you admire, something you have discovered or just something you just like or find interesting.
Please send the text as a word document and the photographs as separate jpg files ; please do not send the photographs embedded in the text as I cannot then edit the document. However, it is always useful - but not essential - if an embedded version could be sent as well, as then I can lay out the document as you intended. Please send contributions to churchmonuments@aol.com . We will feature the monument for a month and it will then be archived.

Some tips on the photographs:
1. It is always polite to ask the vicar or rector of the church for permission to take photographs, stressing they are not for profit or commercial purpose. It is important to confirm when the church is normally open. Don't forget to enclose a stamped addressed envelope for your reply.
2. Cathedrals and some other large churches have a visitors' desk and permission may often be obtained there on the day; sometimes there is a modest cost. Some of these churches do not normally allow photography although permission may be obtained if one writes before hand. To date the only place that I have been refused  is Durham Cathedral. Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral also do not allow photography.
3. Try to carefully remove items that block the view of the monument if you are able. Especially don't leave your camera case in the way as I have on occasions! Or alter the angle of the photograph to minimise this problem.
4. Try to avoid excessive contrast in taking the photographs - dark shadows and bright sunlight. In other words, try to see what the camera sees, not your eyes! Flash can be difficult to use as it creates harsh shadows and burned out highlights; this is especially difficult when a photograph is taken of a subject of some depth when the foreground becomes too bright and the background too dark, because of the rapid falling off of the brightness of the flash with distance.
5. Please send photographs as jpg or gif attachments; do not embed them in the text where they cannot be edited and require a lot of memory space. If you wish I can scan printed photographs if they are sent to me; they will always be returned.
Click on the link below to see earlier Monuments of the Month
January 2010 Thomas Moore (d. 1586) & his widow Marie at Adderbury (Oxfordshire) Sally Badham FSA
February 2010 The so-called ‘Stanley boy’ monument at Elford (Staffordshire) Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
March 2010 William Shakespeare’s monument, HolyTrinity, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire Dr Adam White PhD
April 2010 The Lovell Tomb at Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire Dr Ellie Pridgeon PhD
May 2010 The chantry of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester 1391-1447 at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban Jane Kelsall
June 2010 Thomas Babington of Dethick (d. 1518) and his wife Edith at Ashover (Derbyshire) Dr Kelcey Wilson-Lee PhD
July 2010 Baptist Noel, Third Viscount Campden (c. 1612-1683) at Exton, Rutland C B Newham
August 2010 Isabelle of Angoulême at Fontevraud Abbey J K Bromilow MInstP
September 2010 The Monument to Thomas Strode at Beaminster, Dorset Dr Clive J Easter PhD
October 2010 The cadaver monument of Guillaume de Harcigny (d. 1393) at  Laon (France) Dr Sophie Oosterwijk FSA
November 2010 The John Donne Monument (d. 1631) by Nicholas Stone in St Paul's Cathedral, London Dr Philip Cottrell
December 2010 Walter Helyon (d. c. 1357) at Much Marcle (Herefordshire) Sally Badham FSA
January 2011 Hungerford, Berkshire Dr Ellie Pridgeon PhD
February 2011 The Schaw Monument Dumfermline Abbey Church Dr Jenny Alexander
March 2011 Two wooden Epitaphien from Königsberg Jerome Bertram
April 2011  Abbot Adam of Carmarthen, Neath Abbey South Wales Dr Rhianydd Biebrach Ph D
May 2011 Sir John Newdigate, 1610, Harefield, Middlesex Jon Bayliss
June 2011  The joint tomb of João I of Portugal (d.1433) and his queen, Philippa of Lancaster (d. 1415) Founder’s Chapel, monastery of Our Lady of Victory, in Batalha, Portugal  Joana Ramôa
Photographs by  José Custódio Vieira da Silva
July 2011 Today and not tomorrow’ Doctor James Vaulx and his two wives Editha and Philip   St Mary’s Church, Meysey Hampton Joan and Robert Tucker
August 2011 The Bourchier Monuments in St Andrew’s Church, Halstead (Essex) Mark Duffy
September 2011 Two Monuments in Bedfordshire Cameron Newham
October 2011 Floor slab of Joost Corneliszoon van Lodensteyn, burgomaster of Delft (d. 31 April 1660), his wife Maria van Voorburch, and their descendants, Oude Kerk (Old Church), Delft (Netherlands), Belgian hardstone, 223 x 136 cm. Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
November 2011  Berengaria of Nevarre, Queen of Richard the Lionheart in L'Épau Abbey J K Bromilow MInstP
December 2011  The Watton Monument at Addington, Kent Dr Clive Easter
January 2012  The monument of Lady Margaret  Grey (d. 1330) at Cogges  Oxfordshire Sally Badham
February 2012 The Effigy of Walter Stewart, Earl of Menteith, at Inchmaholme Priory, Scotland Mark Downing FSA
March 2012  Thomas Walwyn (d. 1415) and his Wife  at Much Marcle (Herefordshire)   Sally Badham 
April 2012  Lady Barbara de Mauley, St Nicholas, Hatherop   Joan and Robert Tucker  
May 2012 The tomb of John Marshall in Llandaff Cathedral Dr Madeleine Gray PhD FRHistS
June 2012 The double tomb monument to Reinoud III van Brederode (d. 1556) and Philippote van der Marck (d. 1537) in Vianen (Netherlands) Trudi Brink
July 2012 Lowsley Family Tomb, Hampstead
Norris, Berkshire
Dr Andrew Sargent
August 2012 Oliver Cromwell's Coffin Plate J K Bromilow MInstP
September 2012 A Monument in Holy Trinity Church Hull Sally Badham FSA
October 2012 East Worldham (Hampshire) Sally Badham FSA
November 2012 Floor slab of Cornelis Pietersze (d. 1532) and his wife Jozijne van Domburch (d. 1557), Sint-Maartenskerk, Sint Maartensdijk (province of Zeeland, Netherlands), Belgian hardstone, 254 x 141 cm. Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA and Kees Knulst BA
December 2012 An exercise in white marble and whitewashing: Cenotaph of Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam (d. 13 June 1665), by Bartholomeus Eggers, situated in the choir of the Jacobskerk, The Hague (Netherlands), white, red and black marble and wood. Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
January 2013 Martin Kistenmaker and his Parents
Heiligenkreuz, Rostock
Jerome Bertram
February 2013 The monument to Archbishop James Sharp (d.1679) in Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews (Fife) Phoebe Armstrong
March 2013 The Monument at Sheriff Hutton (Yorkshire).
Is this the tomb of Richard III’s son?
Dr Jane Crease
April 2013 Zacharias Johannes Szolc, 1682, and Stanisław Bużenski, 1697 Frombork Cathedral, Poland Jerome Bertram
May 2013 The monument to Dr Thomas Turner, died 1714. Stowe-Nine-Churches, Northamptonshire  Dr Clive J Easter FSA  
June 2013 'Left for dead' Major Thomas Price Robert Tucker
July 2013 An unusual saint: Floor slab of Jacopmine Huyghendochter, wife of Foert Christiaenszoon (d. 1553), Sint-Maartenskerk, Wemeldinge (province of Zeeland, Netherlands), Belgian hardstone, 185 x 114 cm Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
August 2013 Thomas and Mary Acton, erected 1581, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire Jon Bayliss
September 2013 Cholmondeley Monument, St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London  Dr George Roberts
October 2013 Revd Theophilus Pickering (d. 1710) and John Dryden, Poet Laureate (d. 1700), Titchmarsh (Northamptonshire) Sally Badham FSA
November 2013 Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, 12th Baron de Ros of Helmsley (c.1492 – 1543) Bottesford, St Mary (Leicestershire)   Edward Higgins MA BSc (Hons)
December 2013 Maria Rebekka Schlegel, 1736, Stadtmuseum, Meissen, Germany Jon Bayliss
January 2014
Lady Elizabeth Clinton (d. 11 September 1423) Haversham (Buckinghamshire)
 Sally Badham
February 2014 LUGENS MŒRENSQUE -1 Moira Ackers
March 2014 A son’s delayed memorial to his dead mother: The tomb of Catharine of Bourbon, Duchess of Guelders (d. 1469), Stevenskerk, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Sophie Oosterwijk and Trudi Brink
April 2014 Robert Crane (d. 1500), Chilton (Suffolk) Sally Badham
May 2014 A monument with a story
Double monument said to commemorate Lady Constantia and her son John, St Leonard’s church, Scarcliffe (Derbyshire).
Sophie Oosterwijk and Sally Badham
June 2014 A military effigy
St James's Church, Iddesleigh, Devon
John K Bromilow MInstP
July 2014 Brecon Cathedral: a post-Reformation cross slab Dr Maddy Gray PhD
August 2014 The monument to Lady Wolryche, 1678: the Lady with the Lute Dr Clive J Easter FSA  
 


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