The Memorial Cross
Memorial Book title05

The Memorial Cross is in the Churchyard of St James the Great, just to the west of the church, looking out north across the parish with Wavering Down providing the backdrop. OS Map ref: ST 413 567

One of the earliest actions of the Parochial Church Council [PCC] was to commission the memorial,  with the PCC meeting of 14th April 1920 agreeing to Reverend L.H. Ransom’s proposal of the erection of a cross in the churchyard. On the 8th June 1920 they met again to consider designs from three masons: Mr Mills of Wells, Mr Norton of Weston super Mare and Mr Osbourne of Langford.

Mr R.V. Osbourne’s “design No 61” was selected by the PCC and he met with them on the 14th June 1920 during whih the design was discussed and he proposed a number of alterations to the design, recorded as costing an extra £20. The total cost presented to the PCC on July 2nd was for £156-10s-0d

Constructed of Draycott stone [Dolomitic conglomerate] the Shaft and Cross rises from a pedestal which is set on an octagonal base of three steps to a total height of 14ft.

The Cross bears a carved Laurel wreath and a 6ft sword running down the shaft. On the Pedestal, also octagonal, are the panels for the dedication and the names of the fallen. This was originally three panels, to the north/front and either side. A further two panels to the eastern/left hand side were altered to take the dedication and names of the fallen from World War 2 in 1946.

The overall finish is rough punched, except for the Wreath, Sword and the Panels. The Dedication and names are in raised lead of a  “Latin block” font. The  final wording of the dedication was agreed at the PCC meeting of 11th November 1920.

These are the panels at the base of the Cross. As you climb the steps you are faced with the dedication on the pedestal : “To the glory of God and in honoured memory of Winscombe men who fell in the Great War 1914-1918”.
Under the Pedestal, the inscription of the top step reads “Their name liveth for evermore

On either side of the dedication are a panel of names, 10 on each side, listed by seniority of rank, in alphabetical order of surname with initials :

Winscombe Memorial (3) Winscombe Memorial (4) Winscombe Memorial (5)

The dedication ceremony, officiated by the Bishop of Bath and Wells; Bishop George Wyndham Kennion, took place on Sunday, 2nd January 1921 with relatives of the fallen, the congregation and the Sunday school present.

Further around to the left (south east) is the dedication “Also in honoured memory of the men of this parish who fell in the World War 1939-1945” flanked to the right by 10 names: again listed by rank in alphabetical order of surname with initials.

This time it was the Parish Council who instigated the additions, prompted by Captain B.L.Gardner (who had been the parish’s Head Fire Warden during the War). In July they announced in the press their intention to inscribe new names and asked the public for subscriptions. They again retained Mr Osbourne to make the changes and by October they had raised £32-12s-6d.

Mr Osbourne’s changes were complete by Remembrance Sunday 1946 and on the 28th November the Parish Council minutes recorded the final bill was £27-10s-0d, the balance being retained for flowers on subsequent Remembrance Sundays.


Winscombe Memorial (1) Winscombe Memorial (2)

In late 1949 The Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council discussed the possibility of moving the war Memorial from the Churchyard to a more central site in the Village. Writing to the Parochial Church Council on 3rd December 1949 to find out whether the church authorities would agree to such a move.

While some response was given a follow up question was made on 3rd January 1950 as to who was responsible for the maintenance of the memorial - this typed letter also has a hand written addition “also as regards to its removal”

On the 25th January the Parochial Church Council wrote back that “the memorial in the churchyard was erected by the Parish Church and cannot be removed” and that “Maintenance is naturally the duty of the Parochial Church Council who have had a friendly arrangement with the British Legion over many years.”