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Tuesday, 12 February 2008

New Hutton - a lost memorial

After reading obituaries of fallen soldiers and press reports of unveilings from 1914 through into the 1920s it becomes clear that appreciable numbers of rolls of honour and sometimes even more substantial memorials have disappeared over the years. Indeed, they continue to be lost. This leaves a gap in our understanding of styles and purpose. But occasionally a stroke of luck allows the gap to be filled.

New Hutton's principal Great War memorial is the lych gate that stands on the main road at the bottom of the path leading to the churchyard. Stone panels built into the structure bear the dedication and the names of the village dead.

Within the church there is also a small wooden cross with three name brasses which was almost certainly served as the community's memorial prior to the erection of the lych gate.

However, much more interesting to me is a small dedication brass on a small and quite modern organ indicating that a predecessor was gifted grateful memory of those who fought in the Great War.. by John & Helen Rankin of 'Hill Top' in June 1920. I was intrigued by this but resigned to the probability that it would not prove possible to find an image of this earlier instrument. Then a couple of weeks ago I discovered an old postcard showing the interior of the church decorated for a harvest festival and by the altar an imposing organ.

Is this the one presented to the church by the Rankins or an even earlier one? Local knowledge is required!

I believe that there is also a roll in the village hall which I have not yet seen, so again, local knowledge please!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's really satisfying when these unexpected historical details come to light - that postcard was a great find!

I find some of the most fascinating and moving memorials are those that were never intended to be permanent - in particular the paper Rolls of Honour, annotated during the course of the war to show the fate of those serving.

UK National Inventory of War Memorials