Sunday, August 23, 2015

The War Memorials of Grasmere, Cumbria

1. Grasmere in English Lakeland, Cumbria:
“The fairest place on Earth” (Wm. Wordsworth)
It has a number of war memorials (WW1 and WW2)
[Collingwood's WW1 memorial is seen on the right]
2. St Oswald’s Parish Church, Grasmere:
Where William Wordsworth and his family attended
(Inside are WW1 and WW2 memorials)
3. The Baptistery of St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere
Grasmere’s ‘Book of Remembrance’ is found here
There is also an original WW1 battlefield cross:
Pte. William W. Peascod, 8th Bn. The Border Regt.
4. The Grasmere Church Organ and memorial plaque
The organ was donated in memory of a WW1 casualty:
Driver Nellie Taylor, 10th Motor Ambulance, V.A.D. 
5. Grasmere Church War Memorial (WW1 and WW2)
Found inside St Oswald’s Parish Church, Grasmere.
“Their name liveth for evermore”  
For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Grasmere, “the fairest place on Earth”

Grasmere, according to the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) is “… the fairest place on Earth”. On the left of Photograph No. 1 (above) is the view looking north from outside Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust Museum at Grasmere. In the background is Helm Crag with the rocky outcrop known as “The Lion and the Lamb” on the summit. This is the heavenly countryside which has inspired generations of poets, writers and artists: certainly since the time of Wordsworth and other “Lake Poets”, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, Hartley Coleridge and Thomas De Quincey.

The Vale of Grasmere, its village, its lake, its writers, poets and artists are known the world over. Visitors – or perhaps one should more rightly use the term pilgrims – from many lands come to Grasmere to visit Dove Cottage, home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth and the Wordsworth family between 1799 and 1808, and visit the graves of the Wordsworth family in Grasmere churchyard.

Also found in Grasmere is the Heaton Cooper Studio, home of the gallery of the highly respected Heaton Cooper family. The Heaton Coopers, and especially Alfred Heaton Cooper (1863 – 1929) and his son William Heaton Cooper (1903 – 1995), are well known for landscape painting in the English Lake District, while Ophelia Gordon (nee Bell) Heaton Cooper (1915 – 1975), wife of William Heaton Cooper, was an accomplished sculptor.

Yet, there is more to Grasmere than poets and painters inspired by Nature in times of peace. Walk around Grasmere and a number of war memorials can be found, particularly from WW1 and WW2. For example, the Celtic Cross seen on the right in Photograph No. 1 is a WW1 memorial found in Grasmere’s Recreation Ground. It was designed by the artist and sculptor W,G. Collingwood (1854 – 1932) and, even if it were not a war memorial, it should be regarded as a significant sculpture.

The memorial verse at the base of Collingwood’s WW1 Grasmere war memorial was penned by the poet, writer, conservationist and Anglican clergyman Canon H.D. Rawnsley (1851 – 1920). At the time, Canon Rawnsley was living in retirement at another of Wordsworth’s former homes at Grasmere, Allen Bank. Canon Rawnsley was a close personal friend of President Woodrow Wilson of the United States. Canon Rawnsley even met with President and Mrs Wilson at Carlisle at the end of 1918 shortly before the president and his wife travelled to France for the Paris Peace Conference which opened on 18 January 1919. The eventual outcome of this peace conference was the Versailles Peace Treaty (signed 28 June 1919) and ‘Peace Day’ (celebrated 19 July 1919).

In addition, wars and conflicts have influenced Grasmere’s poets, writers and artists from the Napoleonic Wars to the present day. A strong case can be made that William Wordsworth was a ‘war poet’. Indeed, the Wordsworth Trust Museum and Gallery at Grasmere held a special exhibition in 2015 focusing in this aspect of Wordsworth’s writings (“Wordsworth, War and Waterloo”, March – November 2015).

In the early days of the Second World War, evacuees from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA) were based in and around Grasmere. Many of these artists served in the Grasmere Home Guard or one of the other civilian defence units. One significant reminder of this is a painting in the Imperial War Museum’s WW2 collection entitled “The Grasmere Home Guard” by Professor Gilbert Spencer, R.A., R.C.A. (1892 – 1979). Professor Spencer, who had served with the R.A.M.C. in the First World War, was known for landscapes, portraits, murals and figure compositions.

Let us now consider Grasmere’s WW1 and WW2 War Memorials in greater detail.

Sunday, 23 August, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The War Memorials at Grasmere’s Recreation Ground

(a) W.G. Collingwood’s Celtic Cross (a WW1 memorial)

This study of Grasmere’s war memorials begins at the village’s recreation ground off Broadgate. The first thing to look at is W.G. Collingwood’s First World War Memorial which has already been referred to. It can be seen on the right-hand inset of Photograph No. 1.

William Gershom Collingwood was an important literary and artistic figure in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. For several years he had also acted as secretary and assistant to the Victorian art critic, writer and poet John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Collingwood was also a close friend of the English author and journalist Arthur Ransome (1884 – 1967), who wrote the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series of children’s books set in the Lake District. In fact, Arthur Ransome used the names of some of Collingwood’s grandchildren for his characters in ‘Swallows and Amazons’.

Collingwood’s design for the Grasmere war memorial is in the form of a Celtic Cross, doubtless due to a large part because of his study of the pre-Norman Celtic crosses found throughout the Lake Counties. He design was made into a Celtic Cross by William Bromley, a stonemason from High Hill, Keswick (in northern Lakeland).

Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley was secretary of Grasmere War Memorial Committee. It was Canon Rawnsley who penned the verse at the base of this memorial. However, Canon Rawnsley did not live to see the memorial unveiled. He died at Grasmere on 28 May 1920. It was almost exactly a year later, on 15 May 1921, that the Celtic Cross was unveiled in the Recreation Ground by the Bishop of Carlisle.

Although no names are listed on this memorial, it was amended after the Second World War to include that conflict as well as the First World War.

The dedication is as follows:

“In Honour of the Men
Of Grasmere who
Fought and in Ever
Thankful Memory
Of the Men who Died
For God, For King, For Home,
For Freedom, Peace & Right
In the Great War
1914 – 1918
1939 – 1945”
On the base is the following memorial verse by Canon Rawnsley:

These died in war that we in peace might live,
They gave their best so we our best should give,
Not for themselves, for freedom, home and right.
They died and bid us forward to the fight.”

“See ye to it that they should not have died in vain”.

(b) Grasmere’s two ‘peace trees’ (WW1 and WW2)

There are two ‘peace trees’ trees in the meadow of Grasmere Recreation Ground. The first was planted in 1919 at the end of WW1 and the second was planted in 1995, 50 years after the end of WW2. Both are marked by an inscribed piece of Lakeland slate.

On Saturday 19 July 1919, ‘Peace Day’ which marked the official end of the so-called ‘Great War’ Canon Rawnsley and a large proportion of the residents of Grasmere and the surrounding area gathered on the meadow. To mark the end of the war and the coming of peace, Canon Rawnsley planted an oak tree which stands to this day. Next to it is a block of Lakeland slate with the following inscription:

“This oak was planted
By Canon Rawnsley
On Peace Day 19 July

In 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, a second ‘peace tree’ was planted in the Recreation Ground. Like the earlier ‘peace tree’, its significance is noted by a piece of Lakeland slate engraved with the following inscription:

“This tree was planted
On the 19th August 1995
To mark the 50th Anniversary of the
End of WWII”

Sunday, 23 August, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The War Memorials inside Grasmere Parish Church
(a) Lieutenant James Frederick Greenwood, 16th Madras Infantry

Grasmere’s Parish Church (Church of England) is dedicated to St Oswald [Photograph No. 2]. William Wordsworth, his wife Mary, his sister Dorothy and other members of the Wordsworth family are buried in the churchyard. According to tradition, the first Christian church was erected here about 642 A.D. The oldest parts of the present building are believed to date from the 14th Century.

Inside the church are a number of memorials commemorating men and women linked to Grasmere parish who have lost their lives in wars and conflicts from the 19th Century onwards. The oldest of these memorials, mounted on one of the church walls, remembers Lieutenant James Frederick Greenwood, 16th Madras Infantry, who was killed in action in Burma in 1886. It reads as follows:

“In loving memory of
Lieut., 16th Madras Infantry, late of the Royal Warwickshire Regt
Killed in Action on Sunday the 21st Novebr. 1886
Nr. Gwebin, Upper Burmah (sic), where he now rests
Aged 27 years.
Dauntless thou facest the foe, as they aim at thy breast
Three bullets pierce thy heart calmly thou sinkest to rest
And thy bright spirit by death triumphant o’er death
Heavenward ascendeth.
(b) Private William W. Peascod, Border Regiment, and
(c) The Grasmere Parish ‘Book of Remembrance’

Photograph No. 3 shows the baptistery and the ropes used by the bell-ringers to ring the carillion (church bells). On the right-hand side, between the two ropes, the original wooden battlefield cross of one of Grasmere’s WW1 casualties: Private William W. Peascod, which reads as follows:

“Killed in Action
Pte. W.W. Peascod, 25621
Border Regt. 5.11.17
Age 19”
Seen on the left-hand side of Photograph No. 3 is a display cabinet containing a ‘Book of Remembrance’ for Grasmere’s War Dead of the two World Wars. The small brass plaque on the cabinet reads as follows:

“In Memory of those Grasmere Men and Women
Who served in the World Wars,
Especially those who gave their lives.”
At the other end of the church is the church organ [Photograph No. 4]. This too can be regarded as a war memorial for another of Grasmere’s WW1 casualties: Driver Nellie Taylor, 10th Motor Ambulance, V.A.D. There is a brass plaque mounted in one of the mahogany panels commemorating her life and the gift of the organ, which reads as follows:

“Dedicated to the
Glory of God
& in Loving Memory of
Nellie Taylor, V.A.D.
Of the 10th Motor Ambulance Convoy
Who died in France June 27th 1918
And was interred at Mont Huon
Military Cemetery, Le Treport
Second daughter of
John Taylor Esq., C.B.E.
And Mrs Taylor
Of Helmside, Grasmere and
Brywood, Birkdale.
This organ
Is the gift of her sorrowing

Sunday, 23 August, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(d) Grasmere Church War Memorial (WW1 and WW2)

On the south wall of the church is a tablet of Lakeland slate commemorating the parishioners of Grasmere and district who lost their lives in the World Wars [Photograph No. 5]. In the middle is an image of a Celtic Cross, recalling to mind the Collingwood war memorial on Grasmere’s Recreation Ground. The WW2 names were added at the bottom of the original memorial after the war.

The commemoration on the memorial, followed by the names listed, is as follows:

“In Memoriam
1914 – 1918
Pro Patria
Their Name
1939 – 1945”
Edward Seton Chance, Lt-Colonel, 2nd Dragoon Guards, 1918 May 29
Aubone Charles Campbell, DSO, Major, 2nd K.O.S.B., 1918 April 3
John Gordon Dutton, M.C. with Bar, Major, R.F.A., 1918 Apr 5
Hero Oswald Hillerns, Major, R.F.A. Territorial Force, 1917 Apr 14
Andrew Ferguson Chance, Captain, R.F.A., 1915 October 3
Francis Rudolf Danson, Lieutenant, 1/4th Batt. Cheshire Regiment, 1915 August 10
Joshua Hardisty M.M., Sergeant, 11th Border Regiment 1916 November 18th
Alfred Marsden, Sergeant, 8th Border Regiment, 1916 April 8
Thomas Henry Sanderson, D.C.M., M.M., Sergeant, R.F.A., 1917 August 1917
James Smith, Sergeant, Northumberland Fusiliers, 1919 February 5
George Routledge Wilson, Corporal, K.O.S.B., 1918 June 7
George Edward Thompson, Lance Corporal, 11th Border Regt, 1917 July 10
Nellie Taylor, Driver, V.A.D., British Red Cross Society, 1918 June 27
Of the Border Regiment
John Herbert Baisbrown, Private, 1st Battalion, 1918 January 13
John Dixon, Private, 1st Battalion, 1916 July 1
John Hardisty, Private, 1st Battalion, 1916 July 30
Henry Bowness Johnson, Private, 11th Battalion, 1916 April 6
Fred Kendall, Private, 8th Battalion, 1918 September 4
William Warwick Peascod, Private, 8th Battalion, 1917 November 5
And William Wilson, Private, 6th Battalion, 1916 September 27
Noel Baisbrown, Private, 14th Royal Montreal Rifles C.E.F., 1918 September 27
Frederick Brown, Driver, R.A.S.C., M.T., A.I.F., 1918 June 5
Henry Dixon, Private, Northumberland Fusiliers, 1918 June 5
Thomas Warwick Peascod, Driver, R.F.A., 1917 November 26
Tom Fleming Wilson, Gunner, Tank Corps, 1916 September 22
WW2 casualties:
John Foster Stobbart, Private, 4th Border Rgt., 1941 December 5th
Bruce Wilson, Lance Corporal, Coldstream Guards, 1944 September 30


This article is dedicated to the parishioners of Grasmere and district who lost their lives in the World Wars.

“That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return? –
Such ebb and flow must ever be,
Then wherefore should we mourn?”

From: ‘Lines Composed at Grasmere’ (1806),
By William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

Sunday, 23 August, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Further reading and information:

(a) William Wordsworth and Grasmere
For further information about William Wordsworth, his life and work, click on the following link to the Wordsworth Trust and Museum website:
Wordsworth Trust and Museum, Grasmere

(b) ‘Grasmere Home Guard’ by Gilbert Spencer, R.A.
For further information on the BBC website about the oil painting ‘Grasmere Home Guard’ by Professor Gilbert Spencer, R.A. (now part of the Imperial War Museum art collection) click on the following link:
Grasmere Home Guard oil painting (BBC website)

Sunday, 23 August, 2015  

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