Poppy St Margaret’s Church: The War Memorial Poppy

OJI: memorial on front page© Images & Voices, Oxfordshire County Council

Above: Front page of the Oxford Journal Illustrated for 29 October 1919, showing on the left the St Margaret’s war memorial when it was new. The text below reads: “The cross is at present leading the way in the style of war memorials, and the above photos show two specimens erected at (1) St. Margaret’s, Oxford, and (2) at Wolvercote.—(O.J.I. photos).”

Below: Detail from the above picture, followed by a photograph taken in 2008.

Detail from above picture

The Calvary today

The war memorial was erected in 1919 to remember the 47 men from St Margaret’s parish who died in the First World War. They are listed in alphabetical order (without ranks) on the bronze panel on each side. A smaller panel in the middle reads:

FOR KING & COUNTRY
1914–1918

and the three narrow strips above these panels read:

THEY LOVED NOT / THEIR LIVES / UNTO THE DEATH

INRI (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum) is nailed in wood over the cross, and on the plinth is another narrow strip of bronze with the words JESU MERCY.

The memorial has a figure of Christ (two-thirds life-size) hanging on an oak cross and was patterned on the many shrines encountered by British troops in Flanders during the First World War, some of which were the only thing left standing amongst the ruins of war. The cast-iron figure of Jesus was made by Lucy’s Foundry in Jericho. Lucy’s took down and sandblasted the cast-iron figure of Christ in 1999, and it has been repainted twice since then.

The memorial was given a Grade II listing in September 2007 on the basis that “standing … on the street corner it is an ever-present reminder of the servicemen’s sacrifice”.

A War Memorial appeal
has been launched

Death-watch beetle and rot has got into the base of the four pillars and semi-dome, which are made of oak, and the memorial is on the verge of collapse. It iss now propped up by scaffolding. The picture below was taken on Remembrance Sunday 2010.

Remembrance Sunday 2010

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