Restoration of the War Memorial at St Mary’s RC Church, Axminster

“ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM MAY THEY REST IN PEACE”

By the entrance path to the Church stands an oak Memorial which features Christ on the Cross. This was put in place in 1919 soon after the end of the First World War. It has two panels, the left hand side inscribed:-

The right hand panel is inscribed:-

“IN MEMORY OF OUR SAILORS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE FALLEN IN THE GREAT WAR FIGHTING FOR KING COUNTRY AND HOME”

The lower section of the Cross is carved with the dates “1914 – 1918” underneath which there is a later addition of “1939 – 1945” to include those who fell in the Second World War.

The oak section, known as a Calvary, is in urgent need of major restoration including the complete cleansing, filling of the large cracks in the Cross, replacement of rotted wood , provision of new oak tiles to the roof, re-inscribing and gilding of the lettering with overall treatment with preservation. In addition, the base is to be rotated through 90 degrees so as to face towards Lyme Road when it will be more visible instead of overlooking the car park. The opportunity will be taken to surface the base with a granite finish and to remove the old stone pillar which blocks the pathway from the pedestrian crossing and rebuild it at the end of the low stone wall that runs along the Eastern edge of the car park. The paths alongside the refurbished base will then be laid with tarmac. The finished project has in mind to be faithful to the original intention to have a fitting memorial to those who paid the price for our freedom and also to create a space where people can easily stop, reflect and pay their respects.

The cost of the restoration work to the Calvary and the work to the base, the pillar and surfaces will cost in the region of £20,000, with a portion being met through grants which have been applied for and the balance through Parish funds and fundraising.

To date, we have received grants from the War Memorials Trust (£3,970) and from the Benefact Trust (£2100). We are grateful for these generous contributions.

It is hoped to have the Calvary removed to the specialist’s workshop mid-March 2024 and for the base work to commence immediately after Easter with the Memorial being fully completed by mid-May 2024 which is around the 105th anniversary when the memorial was first put in place.

The Memorial has been registered as a War Memorial on the website: www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/294164 where there some photographs and a description.

Here you can read the transcript, of the report which was in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette dated 30th May 1919, of the Dedication ceremony on the 29th May 1919.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 30 May 1919

DONATIONS

If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of restoration, perhaps in memory of family or friends, or those who have no-one to remember them, who gave their lives for this country in the two World Wars or in conflicts since, please make a donation to the fund that has been set up. This can be done by:-

a) Sending or delivering to the Parish office a cheque payable to “PDT Parish of the Most Holy Trinity” marking the cheque on the reverse “War Memorial Fund”

b) You can donate to the fund specially set up for this restoration via Give a Little: https://givealittle.co/c/7bfAelw2Pp9QdTTGkdaZuv

If, for some good reason, the appeal project cannot be completed, or if a surplus arises, the remaining appeal funds will be used for general charitable purposes of the parish.

The Parish would like to start a record of past parishioners of Axminster, Lyme Regis & Seaton who gave their lives in conflicts at any dates and if you are able to supply details, please send them to the Parish Secretary.