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Building


Building the Memorial

Very soon after the Armistice was declared, a meeting was called to initiate the building of a Memorial to the Fallen.  It was led by Major H L Newton who had been wounded in the war and whose younger brother William Trafford Newton had been killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

 

From the Burton Chronicle, 19 December 1918:

Memorial to the Fallen

The first meeting of the above Committee concerned with this matter was held at the Oddfellows Hall on Monday evening when Major H L Newton, DSO, presided. A collection committee was appointed and a district allocated to each collector. The following sub-committee were chosen to estimate the appropriate cost, to select the site and to decide on the form of memorial:

Major H L Newton, Chairman
Mrs H Newton
Mrs S Walker
Rev H Bennett
Rev J Charles
Mr F A Ashton (?)
Mr G L White
Mr S A Lester as secretary.

It was mentioned that the number of fallen from the parish was 42 and already a donation of £20 had been promised.

Bodley & Hare (Gray’s Inn Square, London – 1907-1942) were chosen as the architects (specialists in War Memorials and ecclesiastical modifications).  The War Memorial was designed by Cecil Hare, executed by R Bridgeman & Sons (Architectural & Ecclesiastical Craftsmen in Wood & Stone) of Lichfield and dated as 1920, a Renaissance design[1]

The War Memorial Architectural Drawing (in the Memorial Chapel at St. Mary’s) shows that the Memorial was originally planned to be in a slightly different place to where it was eventually built; it is also worth noting that the ‘front’ of the memorial with the ‘In Grateful Memory’ bronze plaque actually faces west, not the path used to approach the Memorial.

The then Imperial[2] War Graves Commission’s decree was that ‘in the erection of memorials and graves there should be no distinction between officers and men‘ and ‘no distinction between creed and nationality‘.  This was followed in Tutbury, with the final inscription listing 47 WWI names in order of date of death.  This was a radical departure from previous practice and few Memorials of the period were so egalitarian.

The final meeting of the Parish War Memorial Committee in March 1921 agreed to place the SCWM in the care of the Parochial Church Council[3].  The Parochial Church Council agreed that the care of the SCWM would be placed in the hands of the vicar to arrange.

During the winter of 1982 the cross fell off[4].  The request to the Parish Council for repair came from the Revd Ganz; the repair was initiated and paid for (£794.60)[5] by the Parish Council[6].  No Faculty was applied for nor is there any record of a Faculty at the SRO[7]; at this point, the ownership of the memorial was never considered by the Parish Council and they assumed a public responsibility.

Bridgemans performed the 1982 repair.  At some point they were absorbed by the Linford Group Ltd. (also Lichfield) who ceased trading in October 2011; the insolvency was handled by recovery firm Butcher Woods of Birmingham.  Contact has been attempted with Butcher Woods to see if there are any of Bridgemans records still existing but there was no response.  Contact was also made with David Linford who said that records did exist, but he was not able to locate specific records.

The area the SCWM stands in is the closed churchyard which is under the maintenance care of the Parish Council[8] and is also in a conservation area; it is also in the curtilage of the Grade I Listed Church.

[1] Pamphlet “The Priory Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Tutbury, Staffordshire” (Author T.J. Ganz, Vicar). 

[2] Later Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[3] Staffordshire Records Office, Parochial Church Council for Tutbury Minutes, 7th March 1921.

[4] Parish Council Minutes (Staffordshire Records Office – SRO) 1981-83

[5] £2,400 at 2012 values

[6] Revd T. J. Ganz

[7] Nor is there any record of a Faculty for the original build of the Stone Cross War Memorial.

[8] But the SCWM is NOT the Parish Council’s responsibility.