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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Day out in Dalton - part 3

The principal Great War memorial in Dalton is set in a small garden on Station Rd on land that was gifted by the Furness Railway Company. In April 1921 the contract for its design was given to Oakley of Barrow.

As often encountered with the construction of memorials there was a deal of discussion around the design and difficulties with finance. In March 1921 a meeting of the War Memorial Committee was rather preoccupied withg the cost of landscaping the site, some £400, against £600 for the memorial itself. At that time £780 had been raised and there was a suggestion from Mr Spencer that 1d be added to the rates, already 3s 6d in the £, to cover the outstanding cost. Councillor Fisher thought such an idea was 'repugnant' and Mrs Layland, secretary, suggested that they should undertake 'yet another appeal to a number of people in the town who were well able to give and who had contributed nothing at all'. In the meantime, however, it was agreed that all the churches in the town be approached to have collections on April 30th, 'Forget-me-not Day', to raise funds for the memorial. It was further agreed that Dalton Urban District Council would maintain it in perpetuity, a task now undertaken by Barrow in Furness District Council.

Just opposite Dalton's memorial is a very nicely proportioned Georgian house, set back behind a large front garden. This is the Conservative Club where there is another memorial, a rather pleasant illuminated item with a picture of King George V, cut from a magazine, as a centrepiece. It is unsigned but must have been put together by a member of the club.

Dalton is a typical example of the diversity of memorialisation after 1914 as various organisations strove to establish their place in the Great Sacrifice as a statement of engagement with local and national endeavours in the war. There is certainly a sense of ownership of the soldiers. Nor is Dalton parts 1.2 & 3 likely to be the totality of memorials; local schools will almost certainly have established rolls of serving men (& women) after 1915 as will the various non-conformist chapels. Whether they survive, in attic or cellar, must remain unknown although I have a memory of a newspaper article in the North West Evening Mail some ten or more years ago (before I began to obsess) describing the discovery of two memorials in an attic in the town. I will try to trace them.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Our former enemies

While spending inordinate amounts of time describing war memorials in Cumbria it is easy to forget the losses of other nations, in Europe and beyond. As war is the universal human condition, so too is the consequent loss; to family, community and country. Thus does each search for appropriate ways to express ideas of service or sacrifice, employing an iconography and language that best expresses national or communal perceptions of purpose; in the case of the Great War the validation of mass death.

I recently bought a job lot of old photos on ebay, among them was this image of the dedication of a war memorial in some anonymous village in Germany or Austria.

A group of rather stereotypical German gentlemen of all ages (no women!) are gathered around a new stone memorial. At the top is a rather modernist figure of a naked man holding a broken sword, gazing heavenwards towards what appears to be a cloud with rays emanating downwards. The dedication in the central panel, above and below the list of names, reads,

Unsere tapferen Gefallenen fur Volk und vaterland zur ehre und zum gedenken.
Die dankbare gemeinde gross besten
I would appreciate a translation!

What does this imagery, somewhat different from British memorials, mean? What does it tell us about post 1919 Germany or Austria?

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Day out in Dalton part 2

When I first started looking at Great War memorials for my MA I thought it would be easy; a gentle jaunt round South Lakes taking a few pics, a few hours in the archives and Bingo!! A dissertation! How wrong I was! It soon became obvious that the listing at the IWM, upon which I was basing my research, was terribly incomplete. Great War memorials are everywhere, probably thousands of them, created from 1914 through to the present. Communities erected a multiplicity as individual churches, chapels, schools and businesses laid claim to their citizen soldiers. Dalton in Furness is a typical example. The large memorial on Station Road, to be shown in a later posting, is rightly considered to be the 'Town War Memorial'. But the presence of many others in the town shows that the processes of memorialisation after the Great War were much more complicated than the erection of a single, centralised memorial.

The first Dalton posting describes those in St Mary's parish church, though even this listing is unlikely to be complete - I didn't check every item of furniture, the communion plate, church warden's staffs or even the Bible in daily use. (At Mansergh the Bible used in every service has the names of the WW1 village dead on the fly page).

Beyond St Mary's there are more WW1 memorials. In Dalton castle, owned by the National Trust, there is a large unsigned brass plaque commemorating five men of the Dalton Co-operative Society who died.

It is unlikely to belong here. But where might it be from? In 2001 I received a letter from a long time resident of Dalton who remembered seeing a memorial in the co-operative buildings at the bottom of Chapel Street during the early 1990s. So is it from there? Almost certainly not. The castle's plaque has been in this position for many years; certainly more than twenty. But apparently there were a number of co-operative shops and offices in the town; so was the memorial from one of these? Don't know! Dalton resident required.

I have already posted a pic of Aircraftsman Redhead's memorial in the Methodist church, but this not the only one in that building. There is also a rather imposing marble plaque bearing the names of 16 men who died between 1914 - 1919, and as an afterthought one who died in 1921 'From the effects of the war'. A further 4 are named who died in the second war. (I will return to this interesting memorial in a later posting).

Finally, for the time being, there is a unsigned plaque in St Margaret's Catholic church with the names of 21 men who were killed in the Great War.

These, however, were not Catholics. Until, I think, the 1960s this was an Anglican church which became redundant before being adopted by the town's Catholic community.

Not finished with Dalton yet - there will be more described in part 3!!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Shake loose the border

Another beautiful summer day today, so I took off up the west coast with a friend. After a look around Millom, an astonishingly interesting little town, (reputedly the only place in England with a Salvation Army 'Fortress'!) we made our way to Muncaster. As with so many others the ancient church there is replete with reminders of an ancient history. One memorial was particularly fascinating, a reminder of the turbulent days of border warfare that ravaged Cumberland, Westmorland and Lunesdale for centuries.

In Memory of Will Penyngton Arm(?) whose fyrst Wife was Ioan Wharton daughter of Thom Lord Wharton. His secondde wyffe was Dame Bridgett Askew daughter of Sir Iohn Hudlestone By whom he had 3 sons Joseph John & William.
Will Penyngton & all his tried Horsemen were called out upon Service of the Borders
Iuorum animabus propitiehur dens ani

This brass has a companion, stylistically identical, that is dated 1801. But although retrospective it clearly commemorates the service of William Penyngton in the wars of the 16th century.

On November 24, 1542 William Pennington was with his father in law, Thomas, Lord Wharton, Warden of the English West March, at the Battle of Solway Moss where some 18000 Scots were pretty much trounced by a few thousand Borderers. After the battle Lord Wharton submitted a report to Henry VIII.

And so the Scots after a greatand long chase of our prickers at Akeshawhill [Oakshawhill], returned down towards Artureth howes, and there great numbers then perfectly in our sights and partly as we stood, with their sides towards us burning homeward, and our prickers not pricking because of their ordnance and great powers, they then something homewards, we with six standards, [that is] to say my lord Parre's in the order of my near cousin Walter Strickland and two hundred archers of Kendale with him; my cousin Sir William Musgrave's; my brother-in-law Sir Thomas Curwen's; my cousin and deputy John Lowther's; my son in law William Pennington's; and my own with the number of twelve hundred men or near thereabouts; come over the water of Levyn more than a pace on horseback to Howpsikehill full in the sight of the Scots, and there a little paused on horseback to put the six standards with those men to the most show and safety for the relief of our prickers...

What this is basically saying is that the English raised their standards on a hill above the Scots and faced them out to relieve the 'prickers' who were harassing the Scots army. The 'Prickers' were the men of the English border clans; Grahams, Armstrongs, Hetheringtons & Elliots who, mounted on their sturdy little horses, pricked their foes with their long lances. Seeing the great standards of the border lords raised on the hill above them, the Scots, under a confused and dysfunctional command lost their morale and started to collapse. The subsequent rout was total.

Within weeks the Scots king was dead & his young daughter, Mary, on the throne. In the years that followed Will Pennington was heavily involved in the 'Rough Wooing' that reduced the border to a state of bloody anarchy. Check out the English Heritage link for more information on the battle.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

day out in Dalton part 1

Nice day today so decided to take an afternoon in Dalton. I wanted to photograph a group of pamphlets in the castle about the town's war memorials and drop off a copy of Danny Elsworth's article from last years transactions on the possible Castellum at Dalton & the Roman roads through Furness. It was my second attempt at photographing the pamphlets, first time batteries went flat, this time blurred! Maybe third time lucky? But St Mary's parish church was open.

The elegant Great War marble memorial of red veined and white marble is on a column at the west end of the nave. It was unveiled on June 19, 1921 by Major EB Pooley TD of the 1/4 King's Own Royal Lancaster Rgt., with the assistance of Canon Herbert Campbell, Chancellor of the Diocese of Carlisle.

Close by are two further WW2. memorials, a larger one of Burlington Blue and a smaller one of oak, commemorating the men of the parish of Dalton and, separately, of St Mary's church who died in the conflict.

It is unusual to see two distinct memorials listing the men of parish and church in this way. It also illustrates the manner in which, even after 1945, the Anglican communion continued to see itself as the focus of community remembrance irrespective of faith, creed or denomination. I wonder how it would cope with the multi-culturalism of today?

The church has a number of high status memorials erected to commemorate members of the Baldwin family. A group on the north side of the sanctuary were created for three who died in War. The earliest two, of repousse copper mounted on oak, are for Midshipman Anthony Edward Baldwin who died on HMS Queen Mary at Jutland, aged 16 & Lt Hugh Reginald Baldwin, Irish Guards, killed in action in France, August 27, 1918, aged 20. They are unsigned but look like Keswick School.

The central plaque, of pink granite, commemorates Dorothy Baldwin killed in the London Blitz, December 9, 1940 while serving as an Air Raid Warden.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

In the potting shed!

I have got used to finding memorials in the most unlikely places but they were the last thing on my mind this last weekend when, with a bunch of friends, I took the opportunity of looking round the extensive formal gardens of a private house in Grange over Sands. Wandering around I noticed, high on the hillside, a stone built potting shed with a row of windows that gave a great view of the garden and The Bay. Two of the window openings contained stained glass, unusual enough, but I was astonished when I went into the shed and looked at them more closely. They were memorial windows, created to commemorate 14 men who died in the Great War.

They are delightful if rather unpreposessing designs of an angel and a Knight. Quite small, they remain in good condition. Having persuaded my mate Big Rod to take photos of them I went down for a cuppa and a cake and asked the owner of the house what he knew of them. It appears that they were bought at Tennant's Auction Rooms in Leyburn, Yorkshire some years ago, but he knew nothing of their origins.

So what do they tell us?

The window depicting the angel bears a pretty standard dedication showing that they were originally in a church, but there is no indication of where the church was. The second window of a rather nice Arts & Crafts Knight bears a list of names. Preliminary identification of these suggests that the guys were from Heywood, Lancashire. More work needs to be done!

What a remarkable discovery. In their home town they may or may not be lamented - but they have survived! More to come on this! If anyone has any suggestions as to a possible artist/designer/maker I would be glad to hear from them.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Grasmere lads & a poem by Rawnsley

I recently went round to have a coffee with a a guy I used to work with. Some years ago I helped him research a few details about a relative, Harry Smith, who was killed in the Great War and, as one does, we ended up chatting about my interest in memorials. Suddenly, he produced a copy of a photograph and a typescript copy of a poem.

The picture shows a bunch of Grasmere lads, probably around the time of August bank holiday 1914! As well as showing Harry Smith it also depicts Harry & Walter Hardisty, two of the sons of Henry & Mary Ann Hardisty of Turn How, Grasmere. Both were born in idyllic Buttermere. Five brothers would join the colours and two would die.

18781, Pte John Hardisty, 1st Battalion Border Regiment was the first to go, probably killed near Ypres on July 30, 1916. His name is on The Menin Gate.

16258 Sjt Joshua Hardisty, 11th (Lonsdale) Battalion Border Regiment followed him soon after. Aged 34 he was killed in the attack at Beaumont Hamel on The Somme, November 18, 1916. Awarded the Military Medal for gallantry, his body lies in Waggon Road Cemetery.

Maybe some Borderers out there can fill in the details.

At the time of the men's death Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley was living at Allen Bank, Grasmere. He was hugely important to The Lake District & The National Trust; a patriot and a poet! Following the death of Joshua he wrote a poem for the grieving mother ........

Not quite Shakespeare & Rawnsley's association with our fellside sheep is not of my doing! Hopefully you will be able to right click on the image to download and read the poem. If not then please email me for a copy. Not sure about copyright with these things, however.