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Author Topic: Buxted War Memorial  (Read 80 times)
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« on: April 19, 2017, 08:43:22 AM »

Buxted is village and civil Parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, about 2 miles from Uckfield and 5 miles from Heathfield.  

The Buxted War Memorial represents the civil parish - that is divided into three ecclesiastical parishes : St. Margaret's, St. Mary's and High Hurstwood - each represented on the stone memorial - each then having an individual memorial inside each respective church.

The Buxted village war memorial stands in the grounds of The Church of St. Margaret The Queen which is half way down the long drive to the Buxted Park Hotel.  These two large buildings sit, practically alone,  on top of the western slope of the valley - the remainder of the village sits in the bottom and eastern slopes of the valley about half a mile away.   This wasn't always the case - the village used to totally surround the church and spread up to the boundary of the manor house (now the hotel).  In the early 1800s the manor house was purchased by the Earl of Liverpool and he decided to usher the villagers away from his home so that he could develop and expand his estate and made them all move to the other side of the valley.  By 1836 the original village ceased to exist around the church and manor house and now sits on the opposite side of the valley.

The village war memorial is in the form of an ornate cross on a shaft leading to a double layer plinth.  The carvings of Christ holding two children and St George slaying the dragon form the top of the cross.  The front face holds the village inscription and the two side faces and the rear face hold the names of the fallen from WWI - they are set out in lists of the ecclesiastical parishes of High Hurstwood, St. Margaret's and St. Mary's.  The fallen from WWII are inscribed on the lower plinth.  I'll post photographs of the inscribed names later or tomorrow.  The front panel with the village inscription reads :

     “Their name liveth”

The Memorial was unveilled on Sunday 10th April 1921 and there is an extensive article about the dedication service published in the
Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 15 April 1921  which I will transcribe later.

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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 09:41:07 AM »

The four faces of Buxted war memorial. 

Picture 1 - The front face with the WWI and WWII village inscriptions.

Picture 2 - The left face, St. Mary's.  The upper face are WWI fallen, the lower face are WWII fallen and the lower small plaque are the two WWII civilian casualties.

Picture 3 - The right face, High Hurstwood.  The upper face are WWI fallen, the lower face are WWII fallen.

Picture 4 - The rear face, St. Margaret's. The upper face are WWI fallen, the lower face are WWII fallen.

We have previously discussed the inclusion of The Hon. F. Bowes-Lyon on Buxted War Memorial on the thread - Eligibility to be on a War Monument..

Inside the Church of St. Margaret The Queen, where this memorial stands,  is a wooden wall plaque dedicated to those from St. Margarets Parish who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The names are the same as those on the stone memorial.  That photograph can be viewed on the above link.

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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 07:56:23 AM »

Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 15 April 1921



The parish of Buxted, although ecclesiastically in three separate parishes and consequently none of them very populous, has none the less done fitting honour to its heroes who fell in the Great War.  The parishes of St. Mary's and also Hurstwood have already their permanent record of their fallen brave men and on Sunday afternoon last a very fine memorial cross was dedicated in the burial ground of the old parish church of St. Margaret.  The cross, which is of Portland stone, is of a very beautiful design by Mr. J.L. Denman, of Brighton, and was executed by Messrs. Bennet of Brighton.  On its front panel is the inscription "To the glory of God and in grateful memory of those from Buxted civil parish who fell in the Great War 1914-1919.  Their name liveth for freedom and righteousness".  Another inscription reads : "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend".  The three other panels contain the names of the men from the individual parishes who gave their lives.

On the side of the cross facing the Churches an emblem of victory, and on the opposite side is the figure of St. George in his encounter with the dragon and surmounting the whole are a pelican and her young, to which the Rector fittingly referred in the corse of his sermon.  It was a glorious afternoon and it would seem that almost everyone who could was bent on doing honour to the occasion.  The church itself was thronged, many standing throughout the service, and hundreds who were unable to gain admittance to the sacred edifice waited reverently without in the bright sunshine, but within sound of the beautiful music which formed part of the unforgettable service.

The clergy participating were the Rector, the Rev. G.S. Pownall, the Rev. Preb. F. Sanderson, the Rector of Uckfield, and Rural Dean.  The Rev. C. E. Roe, Vicar and the Rev. C.H. Berry represented St. Mary's and in the absence from home of the Rev. T. Constable, Hurstwood was represented by the Rev. P.W. Hulbert.

The congregation was led to the church by the Buxted brass band, the procession, formed at the school, consisting of the children carrying wreaths, relatives and ex-Servicemen.

The first part of the service was a solemn form of evensong proceeded and followed by funeral music sympathetically rendered on the organ bu Mr G.R. Protheroe. The sermon by the Rev G.S. Pownall was of the most impressive and appreciative character and must long remain a stimulating memory to the hundreds who listened to his feeling words.   "Their names liveth" was his text and in his opening remarks he said that what they were about to do was to unveil and dedicate a memorial to their heroes that which would be an attempt as far as they were able to perpetuate their memory.  They had raised what they believed to be a very beautiful memorial, the architect had taken an immense amount of trouble fro the artistic point of view and he (the speaker) hoped that admiration for the work of art would be shown by them.  The monument was unveiled by the flags of St. George and the Union Jack.  Could not they see in those colours a beautiful symbolism, red for war, white for victory and blue for peace.  They were the colours of the King, under which the brave heroes fought, died and overcame.  Thinking of them spiritually, red represented sacrifice, the blood spilt; white victory, and blue, heavenly mindedness.  White also represented innocence, which with purity represented the true, characteristic of the Christian warrior, looking at the azure they thought of heaven and peace.
"Fight for the colours of Christ the King,
Fight as he fought for you,
Fight for the right with all thy might, 
Fight for the red, white and blue"
On one side of the memorial was the figure of St. George stabbing the dragon, on the other side an emblem of victory and over these were represented a pelican and her young which was a Christian symbolism, for the pelican would tear open its breast and let its life stream of blood flow out in order, if so need be, that its young ones might live.  Even so Christ allowed his children to be nourished by that life blood of His.  The cross was full of emblematic imagery.  May it represent to them the sacrifice of the Lord and those who died that they in Buxted might live.


Following a hymn the congregation passed into the churchyard, where a soldier at each corner of the Cross was standing on guard.  The children were grouped near the church, and the ex-Servicemen lined up on the other side.  After the hymn "On the Resurrection Morning" had been sung to the accompaniment of the band, the memorial was unveiled by Brigadier-General E.D.J. O'Brien C.B., who said "To the glory of God, and with hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I unveil this memorial in memory of those whose names are inscribed upon it".

The dedication was then pronounced by the Rev. G.S. Pownall, and the names, 16 for St. Margaret's, 16 for St. Mary's and 18 for Hurstwood, were read as follows by Mr. G.R. Protheroe:
St. Margarets : H.J. Adams, Capt. Hon. F. Bowes-Lyon, Secnd-Lieut. Hon. G. Dawson-Damer, W.G. Day, F. Frost, D. Muddle, F.E. Scott, W.E. Smith, E.C. Twitchett, A.E. Avis, L. Fisher, A.G. Miler, Second-Lieut. T. O'Brien, G. Smith, H.G. Stace, H. Watson.
St. Mary's : L. Blackhurst, F. Brown, F. Divall, J.E. Ellis, H. Gooderson, Capttain H.W. Pope MC., W. Sands, H. Unstead, S.Bishop, H. Curd, C.H. Eastwood, A. Farnes, J. Leaves, A.W. Miller, A.V. Stapely, Second-Lieut. C.A. Wilmshurst.
High Hurstwood : C.E.E. Brown, T.H. Brown, C.T. Curd, J.S. Hoath, B.C.G. Moon, G.W.H. Prett, J.H. Brown, Major A.T.W. Constable, Lieut. R.F. Hill, F.A.J. Holmwood, P. Page, A.W. Read, J. Smith, Lieut. G. Taylor, L.L. Watson, J. Southon, F.W. Watson, A.E. Wren.

As each name was called a child placed a wreath at the foot of the cross and stood at attention for a brief moment, and was generally followed by a relative or friend of the man, also bearing a floral tribute.  It was a simple but very touching office. 

Immediately after the conclusion of the reading of the names General O'Brien addressed the assembly (edit - his full speech is published in the newspaper article but is not replicated here).  Hymns, prayers and the Benediction followed, after which trumpeters from Maresfield Camp blew the "Last Post" and three volleys fired by the party which had been in attendance throughout the proceedings.

The Reveille was then sounded and the whole assembly, having sung the National Anthem, an unforgettable ceremony ended.  The homeward journey was to the sound of half-muffled bells, which prior to the service rang a quarter peal of Grandsire triples, splendidly struck, and later rang touches of triples and doubles.
There is a photograph in the above newspaper report but it is extremely dark and almost a silhouette so I won't post that.
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