Location

c10m to the west of the Parish Hall, Germansweek, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5BP

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Germansweek

National Grid Reference: SX4391494258

Summary: First World War memorial granite obelisk, unveiled 1920.

Germansweek War Memorial, which stands outside the Parish Hall, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest: As an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the First World War.

Architectural interest: a simple yet poignant war memorial obelisk in granite; unusually, the memorial has not been adapted for Second World War commemoration, and thus retains its original design intent.

Group value: with Bidlake Cottage and Paul’s Shop (both Grade II-listed).

History

The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three-quarters of a million British lives and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Germansweek as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. Of the population of around 200, six men were killed or had died, whilst 29 other men had served and returned.

The obelisk, standing on an area of ground acquired to be a public space as part of the memorial scheme, was unveiled by Mrs. Lambert on11 August 1920 during an open-air ecumenical service. The scheme was funded through public subscription, including a substantial donation from Mr. TH Spry, and the obelisk was provided by William Lias of Okehampton. In the mid-C20 the memorial obelisk was moved to its present position, outside the Parish Hall.

Details

The granite memorial obelisk stands in a railed enclosure on an area of ground outside the Parish Hall (unlisted), opposite Bidlake Cottage (Grade II). The tapered, rough-hewn obelisk, square on plan, is surmounted by a pyramidal capstone and stands on a granite base. The whole is mounted on a concrete platform approached from the road by a gate to the front.

The principal dedicatory inscription to the front (north-east) face of the obelisk reads IN/ COMMEMORATION/ OF PEACE 1919,/ THIS PLOT OF LAND/ WAS ENCLOSED AS A/ PLEASURE GROUND/ AND ALSO THIS/ MEMORIAL ERECTED/ BY THE PARISHIONERS/ IN PERPETUAL MEMORY/ OF THOSE OF THIS/ PARISH WHO SERVED/ THEIR KING AND/ COUNTRY DURING THE/ GREAT WAR/ 1914 – 1918.

The list of commemorated names begins on the north-west face of the obelisk, reading KILLED/ (3 NAMES)/ DIED/ (2 NAMES)/ PRISONER OF WAR/ AT KUT/ (1 NAME)/ SERVED/ (3 NAMES) and continues on the other faces. All the inscriptions are in applied metal letters.