A Short History of Eydon’s War Memorial Cross NN11 3PW
Thoughts of having a memorial cross started in January 1919 when the Rev. W. Lewis proposed that, with the churchyard being almost full, there should be a new churchyard extension on Rectory land off the Culworth Road, near to the village and church. This offer would provide space for both memorial cross and future burials and the contribution enabled the War Memorial project and appeal fund to go forward.
A committee of six was duly appointed, which included the Rev. Lewis and five others who were or had been local farmers.
The committee decided on a granite cross with names on two panels either side of the main east facing memorial which declared “To the Glory of God and in Memory of the Men of Eydon who fell in the Great War 1914 – 1918 - May they Rest in Peace” and they chose Mr A.W. Sturley, of Banbury to sculpt and construct it at a cost of £75, the design being based on a Celtic cross.
After much discussion as to whether proposed names put forward had indeed a true and valid connection with Eydon, the final list of twelve men to have their names engraved onto the stone was agreed and they were: H W Bull; R Cleaver; E F Cleaver; A J Cherry; R Colton; E Colton; E Carpenter; L F Durrant; W Edden; C J Fairbrother; F W Lines and C H Thompson.
Funds were raised by donation around the village with the bulk of it being given by the owner of Eydon Hall, Lady Florence Hesketh who during the war, had accommodation adjacent to the Hall's stable blocks converted into an Auxiliary Home Hospital, containing five wards each with four beds.
The new burial ground was formally opened on Sunday 25th September 1921. The cemetery was consecrated, and the new cross dedicated by the Bishop of Leicester in front of villagers and parish dignitaries.
After the consecration, Colonel Reid was invited to unveil the granite cross, during which he spoke of the men of Eydon who had given their lives, along with thousands of other Englishmen, for their country, saving it from invasion, contrasting the peaceful village of Eydon with the many devastated villages of France and Belgium. In a following speech, Mr Ernest Pettifer, on behalf of the Memorial Committee, spoke of the “Forty men who had left the parish and twelve had not returned”.
After the end of WW2, the following inscription was added to the west panel.
1939-1945 Brand RJ Hannis FTR O’Loughlin JJ Rogers B “We will remember them”
In more recent times the churchyard extension with the memorial has been conveyed by the Church to the Parish Council so that the whole village community is now responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.
Member of RBL Byfield & District Branch
My thanks to Eydon Historical Research Group for allowing me to write this piece, as it has been produced entirely from extracts taken from its booklet "Lest We Forget – Eydon in the Great War". Published in March 2014.