Sunday, October 18, 2015

A ‘Thankful Village’ of the Second World War

1. The village of Morland in Cumbria’s Eden valley:
A ‘Thankful Village’ of the Second World War
During WW2 Morland Hall was a Red Cross hospital  
2. St Lawrence’s Church and churchyard, Morland
The fortified church tower dates back to Saxon times
3. Two outstanding features of St Lawrence’s, Morland:
A topiary squirrel and the Saxon church tower behind 
4. The War Memorial in St Lawrence’s churchyard.
Commemorating those killed in the Boer War and WW1:
There are no WW2 casualties listed on the memorial
5. The War Memorials inside Morland Parish Church:
(Top): The WW1 memorial for Morland and district
(Bottom): The ‘Thankful Memorial’ of WW2
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  For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below.

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4 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information
The village and parish of Morland, Cumbria.

For much of its recorded history the village and parish of Morland, Cumbria in the Eden valley was in the West Riding (West Ward) of the county of Westmorland. Since a major local government reorganisation of administrative county boundaries in 1974 the area has been part of the county of Cumbria. The population of Morland has fluctuated over time, peaking at a little over 400 in 1841. In 2012 the population was a little over 300.

There has been a settlement at Morland – “the wood on the moor” – since at least the departure of the Romans. During the Dark Ages it was at the centre of the Celtic / British Kingdom of Rheged. Morland Beck flows through the centre of the village. The original entrance to this picturesque village is marked by a ford crossing the beck [Photograph No. 1]. Below this is a weir and a mill race which in former times were used by local businesses including textile mills and a saw mill.

The oldest remaining building in the village and parish is the parish church dedicated to St Lawrence [Photograph No. 2]. There are some unusual features about the church and churchyard. For example, the fortified church tower is of Saxon design and was constructed about 1050 (i.e. before the Norman Conquest). Built by the order of Earl Siward of York it is the only one of its kind in N.W. England. Morland’s church tower is also believed to be the oldest structure in the modern-day county of Cumbria still in daily use.

Another unusual feature in the churchyard is the topiary squirrel. Standing outside the churchyard and looking at the topiary tree it gives the optical illusion that the giant green squirrel is as tall as the Saxon church tower [Photograph No. 3].

The ‘new’ Morland Hall in the village was completed in 1861 for the Atkinson family. This family was previously among the principal landowners of the district. Morland Hall became a Red Cross hospital during the Second World War. According to the history of the hall the matron (commandant) in charge of the hospital during this time was Miss Dorothy Hartley. It is believed that one of the wartime patients at Morland Hall was the late singer, actor, comedian and television presenter Sir Harry Secombe (1921 – 2001).

At the end of the war in 1945 the hall was evacuated and over the years the building deteriorated. In 1999 new owners began work to restore the building and grounds and developed as a place for civil weddings, wedding receptions, parties and functions.
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Sunday, 18 October, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Morland’s war memorials

As with many villages throughout Britain and Europe, there is a war memorial in the churchyard [Photograph No. 4]. Anyone who does a close inspection of this memorial will find a list of locals who died in the First World War and the Boer War. However, there is no reference on this memorial to the Second World War.

So where are the names of the people of Morland and district who died in the Second World War? There is an answer to this question and it can be found inside the church. Here, there are two memorials: one for the First World War, again listing the names of those who died in the war and a memorial for the Second World War giving “… Thanksgivng to Almighty God thanks for the safe return of all their young men and women …” [Photograph No. 5].

Hence, the answer to the question as to where are the names of those who died in WW2 – there are none. Morland is a ‘Thankful Village’ of the Second World War.

The term ‘Thankful Village’ (or sometimes ‘Blessed Village’) was originally attributed to those villages of England and Wales from which all their men and women serving in the Armed Forces survived the First World War. It was term popularised by the journalist and children’s writer Arthur Mee (1875 – 1943). In the 1930s he identified 32 such villages. However, subsequent researchers have identified 53 ‘Thankful Villages’. Although Morland was not a ‘Thankful Village’ of the 1914- 1918 war, there was one not too far away in the Eden valley: the village and parish of Ousby.

After the Second World War the term ‘Thankful Village’ was again applied to those villages which lost none of their young men and women in the 1939 – 1945 war. Some villages therefore became ‘doubly thankful’ (i.e. did not lose anyone in both wars). The aforementioned Ousby in the Eden valley is one such ‘doubly thankful’ village. While Morland is not a WW1 ‘Thankful Village’, the memorial tablet inside the church confirms it is a WW2 ‘Thankful Village’.

This WW2 memorial, seen in the lower part of photograph No. 4, reads as follows:

“THIS TABLET
Given by the Parishioners
Records their Thanksgiving to Almighty God
for their safe return from the war of 1939 – 1945
of all their Men and Women, over 60 in number,
and for the Preservation from damage
of this Church and Parish”
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Sunday, 18 October, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Transcription of Morland’s WW1 memorials

The Celtic style sandstone monument in the churchyard has the following inscription remembering the war dead of the Boer War and WW1, some of it badly weathered:

“THESE HAVE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE”

“THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED
BY THE INHABITANTS OF MORLAND
NEWBY, KINGS MEABURN & SLEAGILL
TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN
SACRED MEMORY OF THE FALLEN
BRAVE FROM THIS PARISH
TO THE GREAT WAR OF 1914-1918”

The WW1 names listed are:
Sergt. Robert Bellas
Pte. John Briggs
Pte. John Brown
Pte. Fredck W. Dent
Sergt. Stephen Hayhurst
Corp. Cornelius Hayhusrt
Seaman John James
Pte. William James
Pte. Lowther L. Kitchen
Major Ronald A. Markham
Pte. Thomas Ostle
2nd Lieut. Joseph Powley
Corp. John P. Regan
Pte. Matthew Shaw
Pte. John Threlkeld
Pte. Tom Wilkinson

Also listed on the side of the memorial is a local Boer War casualty:
Tpr. George Watts, S. Africa 1900
………………

The WW1 memorial inside the church has the following dedication:

“TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN SACRED MEMORY OF OUR FALLEN BRAVE WHO WENT TO
THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918
FROM MORLAND, NEWBY, KINGS MEABURN AND SLEAGILL”

“THIS TABLET WAS ERECTED BY RESIDENTS AND FRIENDS IN ABOVE VILLAGES”

The names listed are the same as on the Celtic cross in the churchyard:

Sergt. Robert Bellas
Pte. John Briggs
Pte. John Brown
Pte. Fredck W. Dent
Sergt. Stephen Hayhurst
Corp. Cornelius Hayhusrt
Seaman John James
Pte. William James
Pte. Lowther L. Kitchen
Major Ronald A. Markham
Pte. Thomas Ostle
2nd Lieut. Joseph Powley
Corp. John P. Regan
Pte. Matthew Shaw
Pte. John Threlkeld
Pte. Tom Wilkinson
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Sunday, 18 October, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Dedication:

This article is dedicated to the young men and women of Morland and the neighbouring villages of Newby, King’s Meaburn and Sleagill who served in the Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. Although there were some who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War it can at least be thankful that all who served in the Second World War made a safe return.
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Sunday, 18 October, 2015  

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