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Oxford War Memorials: St Clement's Church

Front of St Clement's war memorial

This memorial is in St Clement's churchyard on the Marston Road. The front (left), which bears the only inscription, faces west, towards the church. The text in lead lettering on the pedestal reads:

To the Glory
of God
and in honoured
and grateful
memory of the
108 men from
St Clements
who gave their lives
for their Country
in the Great War

The text on the riser of the top step, which has nearly worn away, reads:

Their name liveth for evermore

The names of the 108 men of St Clement's who were killed in the First World War are listed on a framed Roll of Honour inside the church.

This memorial was designated a Grade II listed structure on 14 February 2017: List Entry No. 1441516. This followed an application made under the Historic England scheme to add 2,500 free-standing First World War memorials to the National Heritage List for England between 2014 and 2018: The War Memorials Listing Project

This memorial, which stands about 4.5 metres high, is made of Portland stone. It comprises a Latin stone cross surmounting a tapering octagonal column standing on a stone pedestal carved with broach stops. This in turn stands on a three-stepped octagonal base. It was erected by Messrs Axtell & Son of Oxford, whose bill came to £192.

Back of war memorial

Right: The back of the memorial as viewed from the Marston Road, with St Clement's Church behind

In 1921 Mrs Herbert Morrell of Headington Hill Hall gave some land to the south of St Clement's Church for an extension to its burial ground, and the war memorial to the parish's dead was erected here.

The war memorial account of St Clement's Church (Oxfordshire Record Office, MSS. D.D. Par. Oxford St Clement's, p. 41) shows that the total cost of the memorial came to
£197 1s. 5d. (including a Faculty fee of two guineas and £2 19s. 5d. for the printing of programmes). Subscriptions came to £101 18s. 10d., and £5 13s. 6d. was added from another account, leaving a shortfall of £89 9s. 1d., which Mrs Morrell gave as a donation.

This memorial was unveiled by Mrs Morrell and consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford (Hubert Murray Burge) on 4 April 1921.

The Oxford Journal Illustrated of 6 April 1921 (p. 12) has a photograph of the Bishop of Oxford dedicating this memorial, and of Mrs Herbert Morrell unveiling it. She also unveiled the scroll in the church containing the names of the dead, made by Mowbray's at a cost of £11 10s. 6d.

Order of Service for the consecration of the extension to the St Clement's burial ground
and the dedication of the war memorial

Oxfordshire Record Office (PA Pamphlets OXFO/725.94/SCLE)

This Order of Service records in detail the programme, starting with a hymn, general confession, absolution, and the Lord's Prayer, followed by the consecration of the extension to the burial ground outside the church.

Then the Bishop said to Mrs Morrell, “We ask you to unveil the War Memorial to the Men who have laid down their lives for the Country's cause.” Mrs Morrell then said simply, “I unveil this Memorial in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Then the Bishop dedicated the St Clement's war memorial with the following words:

Almighty God, Who has called us by Thy Cross and Passion to a life of service and self-sacrifice, accept this Memorial to Thy glory, and to perpetuate the memory and heroism of the 108 men from this Parish of St. Clement's who gave their lives during the Great War, which we offer and dedicate for Thine honour, and memory of those who, following Thee and at the call of duty, counted not their lives dear unto themselves. Amen.

This was followed by the Collect for All Saints' Day, and then the procession returned inside the church, and the hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” was sung. Then the Bishop invited Mrs Morrell to unveil the scroll in the church containing the names of the dead with the words, “We request you to unveil the names of the men who renounced their lives during the Great War.” Mrs Morrell said:

To the glory of God, and in the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, I unveil this record of the men who laid down their lives in the Great War, and trust that the preservation of their names in this Church may be a solace to the bereaved and an incentive to future generations to emulate their earnest steadfastness and self-abnegation in the service of their God, their Church, and their Empire.

The Bishop then dedicated the scroll, saying, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, and to His glory, I dedicate this Roll of the names of the men who, in obedience to the call of their King and Country, surrendered their lives during the Great War.”

There was then a processional hymn to the chancel, followed by a sermon by the Bishop, another hymn, the Benediction, and a recessional hymn.

In the Oxford Times of 8 April 1921, cols. 2 & 3, a sermon given on Sunday 3 April 1921 by the Revd T. W. Gilbert, the former Vicar of St Clement's is reported in full, giving many anecdotes about the families of the war dead, and mentioning that one boy from St Clement's spent his fifteenth birthday in the trenches. This is followed by a report on the unveiling ceremony and includes the sermon of the Bishop of Oxford in full.

This memorial on the Database of the Imperial War Museums: St Clement's Parish WW1 Memorial Cross
and separate entry for the framed Roll of Honour inside the church

War Memorials online: St Clement's Memorial Cross

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© Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 1 March, 2017

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