Castle Hedingham war memorial will benefit from a grant of up to £12,855 from the Grants for War Memorials scheme which is jointly funded by English Heritage and The Wolfson Foundation for the repair and conservation of freestanding war memorials in England. This scheme is administered by War Memorials Trust.
Our War Memorial was erected in 1921 in St Nicholas Churchyard, incorporating an elaborately carved Anglo-Norman shaft which used to stand as the wayside cross at Crouch Green for over 400 years. The shaft was used for many years as a support for the cellar roof of the Falcon Inn, before it was returned to ecclesiastical use. A lead cross was added and a plinth carved in gothic lettering to commemorate the 37 men who gave their lives in World War I. To these names were added the names of the fallen in World War II.
The base of the War Memorial has been tilting for some years due to subsidence of ancient burials beneath. The inscriptions are becoming worn and difficult to read, and the whole structure including the lead cross needs sensitive cleaning and restoration
The money will enable the restoration to be overseen by a Conservation Engineer with advice from a stonework conservation specialist. In order to disturb as little as possible the ancient burials beneath, a structure of piles will be used to support the foundation, rather than try to correct the tilt.
Those involved in the project are Castle Hedingham Parish Council, who are responsible for the upkeep of the War Memorial. They are grateful for the assistance of Revd Laurie Bond in gaining the necessary permissions for the project from the Diocese of Chelmsford. The Morton Partnership and Bakers of Danbury have been appointed to carry out the restoration. Following an initial conservator’s report, work is expected to begin in early 2015. Local people, including the British Legion, have expressed their support for the project. The War Memorial is a unique part of Castle Hedingham history, with its link to the ancient past in the Anglo-Norman shaft and its commemoration of those men from our community who gave so much. Work is currently being carried out by local volunteers to research the history and resting place of the men who lost their lives in both wars.
A spokesman for Castle Hedingham Parish Council said, ‘We are delighted to have received this grant, which enables us to get the best conservation advice and expertise for the restoration of our Grade II listed War Memorial at this special time as we commemorate the centenary of the First World War. We want our War Memorial to be treasured with pride for years to come.”
Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive, The Wolfson Foundation said, "These memorials are a silent and beautiful witness to lives tragically lost in conflict. It is of great importance that they are maintained in excellent condition, and not least during this anniversary year. The Wolfson Foundation is pleased to be funding this programme of conservation work alongside English Heritage and War Memorials Trust."
Roger Bowdler, Designation Director, English Heritage said, “War memorials are a precious and poignant part of our heritage. They are found everywhere, and link the tragic impact of world-wide conflicts with local communities across the land. English Heritage is committed to helping local communities to cherish and protect their memorials. We are delighted to be able to support this project in partnership with The Wolfson Foundation and War Memorials Trust.”
Frances Moreton, Director, War Memorials Trust said, "War memorials are a tangible connection to our shared past creating a link between the fallen and today. It is vital we ensure all our war memorials are in the best possible condition for their age and the charity is delighted to work with English Heritage and The Wolfson Foundation to help local communities across England protect and conserve their war memorials."