War Memorials

War Memorial


It is estimated that there are over 70,000 war memorials in England, commemorating those lost in various wars ranging from the English Civil War right up to wars fought in the 21st century. War memorials are an important part of England’s heritage, with a memorial of some type being present in most towns and villages across the country.

What is a War Memorial?

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) maintain a register of war memorials, called the UK National Inventory of War Memorials. The IWM defines a war memorial as:

“any tangible object which has been erected or dedicated to commemorate those killed as a result of war, conflict or peacekeeping; who served in war or conflict; or who died whilst engaged in military service.”

In addition, the IWM suggest that to be ‘erected’ or ‘dedicated’ as a memorial, there must be some form of clear statement that defines the commemorative purpose of the structure and reports its installation. This statement is often found inscribed on the memorial itself and the unveiling/dedication service is usually recorded in the media.

Types of War Memorial

On the inside of buildings, the most common type of war memorial found in England are those placed inside of buildings, particularly churches, usually taking the form of a metal plaque, stone tablet or timber board. These are often displayed with associated rolls of honour, usually written on paper and framed.

Outside of buildings, the most common type of memorial is the free-standing memorial structure, with crosses, columns, obelisks, cenotaphs and other sculpted figures.

Outdoor War Memorials

Although of significance, memorials inside buildings are usually outside of Local Planning Authority control. The most common internal memorials, i.e. those in churches, are included within the exemption from Listed Building Consent enjoyed by ecclesiastical buildings. Further, many memorials are within unlisted buildings so again, are outside of planning control. Finally, internal memorials are usually protected from the effects of the weather, which is the main cause of damage to a memorial.

The most prominent war memorials are those outside of buildings. These are often in Local Authority ownership (including Parish Councils) and their presence contributes to the character of that area. All outdoor memorials receive some form of protection in the planning system in Bassetlaw, whether by being listed, by being within the curtilage of a listed building, by being within a Conservation Area, by being within a Registered Park & Garden or by being identified as ‘non-designated heritage assets’.

Outdoor War Memorial Survey – May 2014 (Updated November 2015)

In January-April 2014, Bassetlaw District Council undertook a full survey of all the outdoor war memorials in the District. This survey was carried out for 4 key reasons: 

a) To fully catalogue all the outdoor war memorials within Bassetlaw District

Prior to this survey, Bassetlaw District Council did not have a full and complete list of the District’s outdoor war memorials. As part of the Conservation Team’s role in maintaining and improving the council’s evidence base (for planning purposes), the creation of this list was the first essential step in helping to preserve the District war memorials and to secure they are fully taken account of in planning decision-making. 

b) To survey the condition of each memorial

Using the complete list, it was then important to survey the condition of each of the District’s 38 outdoor war memorials. This helps identify those memorials which require some form of remedial work and also assists the allocation of any grant funding (whether from internal or external sources) towards any necessary repairs. 

c) To use the background research to help inform listing applications for those memorials not already listed

In conjunction with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England have set out to list around 500 war memorials each year during the First World War centenary period, 2014-2018. After the original survey was approved in May 2014, the document was submitted to Historic England in order to list those previously unlisted memorials, together with amending listed descriptions and upgrading the listing grades of the most significant structures. Since the May 2014 document was submitted to Historic England: 

  • 27 memorials were newly listed at grade II;
  • 2 existing listed structures were upgraded from grade II to grade II*;
  • List descriptions were updated to reflect the information in the survey;

Now a total of 34 out of the 38 identified memorials are listed. 

d) To confirm the Council’s support for the preservation, repair or sympathetic restoration of the District’s war memorials

The Council will support the preservation, repair or sympathetic restoration of the District’s war memorials as identified in this survey document. The Council will also, where possible, offer financial or research assistance to the owners of war memorials to assist in their preservation, repair or restoration and will provide advice on submitting grant applications to external sources. 

The results of this survey have been set out in a document which was approved at Planning Committee on the 21st May 2014 (as updated 18th November 2015). This document is available to view below: 

Bassetlaw Outdoor War Memorials Survey – May 2014 (Updated November 2015)

In addition, the completed survey forms, full sets of photographs and extracts from the survey document are also available via the Council’s Bassetlaw Heritage Mapping page. 

Finally, a completed spreadsheet showing all the memorials identified is also available below. This spreadsheet also includes links to the site photographs, survey forms and extracts from the survey document: 

BDC War Memorials Index (November 2015)

For further information on war memorials, please contact us.

War Memorials – Useful Links

War Memorials Trust

Imperial War Museum (War Memorials Archive)

Heritage Lottery Fund

Address: Heritage Lottery Fund (East Midlands), First Floor, Granby House, 44 Friar Lane, Nottingham, NG1 6DQ

Historic England

The Western Front Association

Address: Tim Chamberlin, Lancaster House, The Capes, Aslockton, Nottingham, NG13 9AZ

Nottinghamshire County Council (Roll of Honour)

Address: Nottinghamshire County Council, County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP

For information on the programme of WW1 commemoration taking place across Bassetlaw and elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, please see our WW1 Commemoration Information.