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Tuesday 12 February 2008

More Beattie Memorials

Just to be awkward and to make up a posting, here are three more memorials by Beattie of Carlisle. The top one is at Bewcastle Congregational Chapel, the central one at Crosscanonby and the lower one at Raughton Head.

As can be seen, my statement that martial emblems, of swords, rifles and helmets are a trademark of Beatties' work holds good for the first two but collapses on the third where the design reverts to a sort of composite funereal monument Celtic Crossness!

I think the first two are signed, certainly that at Raughton Head is. What these do show is the difficulty of ascribing a designer to a memorial simply on the grounds of style. Communities were pretty fussy in their requirements and the surviving committee minutes held in the various record offices in the county illustrate how pedantic some were in details of design, naming and placing and how matters of finance and local sensitivity set limits on ambition.

WG Collingwood made repeated visits to Ulverston with drawings that he was constantly required to revise on grounds of both cost and taste and there were months of argument about where the memorial should be placed.

At Haverthwaite and Lindal in Furness long and heartfelt discussions were held as to which names should be included or rejected, while at Kendal tremendous effort was put into making the list of names to be inscribed on the memorial's plaques as accurate as possible through the following up of every suggestion by the personal visit of an officer of the town council to friends and relatives.

I think it is self evident that monumental memorials such as those shown here are effectively funereal monuments. Designs very similar if not identical to these and simply lacking the iconography of war, are to be found in cemeteries the length and breadth of the county. Obvious really. Masons such as Beattie simply adapted stock designs and they were happily adopted as memorials because of their comforting familiarity as statements of remembrance.

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