CROSS OF SACRIFICE AND 2 OTHER WAR MEMORIALS
Around the area of the Cross of Sacrifice we have 3 memorials, the Cross of Sacrifice, Park Road Methodist Church War Memorial and the Redearth Road Methodist Church Commemorative Stone.
CROSS OF SACRIFICE
Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, the stone cross with a downward sword reflects the faith of the majority of those commemorated in the cemetery.
Initially known simply as the ‘Great Cross’, it later became known as the Cross of Sacrifice. The cross is usually found in sites with over 40 commemorations and it varies in size depending on the size of the cemetery. We use four different sizes, which range in height from 4.4 metres to just over 9 metres, depending on the size of the cemetery in which it is placed.
The base is octagonal and allowed further flexibility in the design meaning that the whole structure was capable of being incorporated into walls or allowing for seating features at its base.
The cross of sacrifice in Darwen Western Cemetery was used as the centre piece for the remembrance services until 2018 when they were moved to the new memorial wall. However the poppy wreaths are placed on the cross of sacrifice following the service so they can be viewed by members of the public coming to the cemetery.
Opposite the cross of sacrifice you can see 2 more war memorials repositioned to the cemetery from other parts of Darwen.
PARK ROAD METHODIST CHURCH WAR MEMORIAL
July 2018 – Darwen’s Newest Listed Structure
After the impressive ceremony that saw Darwen’s newest war memorial unveiled on 1st July the Friends of Darwen Cemetery were delighted to received further good news this week when Historic England announced that the Park Road Methodist Church’s War Memorial had been awarded Grade 2
In 2003 there was concern that the memorial was going to be moved to Staffordshire.
Through the efforts of David and Karimeh Foster the memorial was saved and in now located in the town’s western cemetery.
The memorial was unveiled on 22nd October 1921 and contains 15 names including James Slater (38) who the oldest and had been awarded the Military Medal and one of the youngest was James Gledhill Doody who was 18 when he enlisted in 1915. He went to France in June and died of his wounds in September 1915. His father was the Head Gardner at the Cemetery and they lived in the South Lodge, located behind the current site of the memorial.
The Park Road memorial stood outside the Park Road Methodist church even when it closed In 1989. The church was sold and the Church was converted into a workshop and private dwelling. The new owner suggested that the memorial be moved and at first to was going to the National Arboretum but a local campaign suggested it stay in Darwen.
The local army engineers brought heavy lifting gear and it was finally found a home opposite the Cross of Sacrifice in Darwen Western Cemetery.
As a grade 2 monument it now is part of Darwen’s heritage and is listed accordingly to be preserved and cared for as part of the national monument.
REDEARTH ROAD PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL WAR MEMORIAL
March 2012 – Did you attend Redearth Rd Methodist Chapel and remember this War Memorial?
The WWI war memorial has been found in the Western Cemetery but only Part of it has survived.
Despite many of the names being incomplete. Tony Foster has recovered all of them on the stone.
However we are certain that a third column of names is still missing, they all attended Redearth Road Chapel.
The names are: Thomas Ainsworth, Nicholas V Bennetts, Joseph R Briggs,Ralph Briggs, John C Brindle, Hubert Bury, Wallace Duckworth, Harry Eccles, Edward Harwood, Samuel Harwood, William Henry Harwood, Hubert Haworth, Benjamin Jackson, Hubert Ashton Jepson, Samuel Jepson, Harold Kay, William Thomas Kirkham, John Richard Lomax, John Neville, John Scully, Ralph Shorrock.
We have been informed that someone saw the memorial between the two lodges in the 1980’s and at that time it was intact. He has informed us that one of the missing names was that of his uncle “James Irving WHALLEY”.
The Friends are interested in restoring the stone but would like to include all the names still missing.
May 2014 – The Redearth Road Primitive Methodist Church War Memorial
In 2010 the Friends of Darwen Cemetery became aware of a broken war memorial that contain one column of 10 names and another column of 11 incomplete names.
After careful and detailed research the FODC have been able to identify that the memorial came from the Redearth Road Primitive Methodist Church that stood on the site now occupied DACA. The Church was demolished in 1964 and the memorial was placed in the cemetery for safekeeping. The original memorial listed 31 names and was unveiled in 1921.
Brent Stevenson Memorials is restoration the memorial and this will be placed in DACA. A commemorative stone for this memorial will be unveiled on Sunday August 3rd, at 2.30pm and Gwen and Allan Hampson, formerly of Darwen, have funded this work.
The FODC will be producing a booklet on the memorial that will contain a pen portrait of each of the men listed on the memorial. This will be available when the memorial is unveiled.
August 2014 – Redearth Road Methodist Church Commemorative Stone Unveiling
On Sunday 3rd August 2014, on the eve of the Centenary of the start of the First World War, FODC unveiled a Commemorative Stone for the 31 men who lost their lives during WW1 from the congregation of Redearth Road Methodist Church.
Back in 2010 soon after FODC formed as a Friends Group we became aware of a broken War Memorial Stone found in the bushes in the Western Cemetery (above right) behind the lodge houses, on the stone was 10 complete names and 11 partial names.
Over the last few years FODC Trustee and local historian Tony Foster carefully researched the 10 complete names we had on the stone, based on the information he found on these 10 names he worked out the stone was from the former Redearth Methodist Church.
Once Tony had the information that the stone came from Redearth Road he was able to work out the 11 partial names and a further 10 names that would of been on the completed stone
The stone has been placed at the Lodge Entrance to the Cemetery opposite to the Cross of Sacrifice.
The commemorative stone was made by Brent Stevenson Memorials and was funded by a kind donation by Gwen and Alan Hampson.
FODC Chairman John East welcomed everybody to the event.
Tony Foster gave a short speech on the history of the stone and how he was able to complete the missing names on the stone.
Gwen Hampson and Tony unveiled the Commemorative Stone.
Gwen was then given a bunch of flowers and a commemorative Darwen Spitfire (made by WEC) as it was also her Birthday, FODC Secretory and Treasurer Peter van Dijk and Diane Walsh presented the gifts.
The Darwen Royal British Legion and Darwen Town Council laid a reef followed by a short blessing by Rev Debbie Keegan.
Gwen was Baptised and Married at the Church and her two daughters were also Baptised at the Church.
November 2014 – DACA hold a Remembrance Service
Darwen Aldridge Community Academy head boy and girl present a wreath after a two minutes silence today (11th November) at the recently installed memorial stone of the former Redearth Road Methodist Church.
The church stood on the site now occupied by part of DACA.
The left-hand part of the memorial was discovered in Darwen Cemetery under bushes near the Cross of Sacrifice and Brent Stevenson Memorials created the right hand side based on the research of FODC member and Trustee Tony Foster.
If you like to buy the Booklet that was made for the Unveiling of the Redearth Road Methodist Church Commemorative Stone which has a piece on each of the names found on the stone and some history on the now long lost Church.
Click on the link below and scroll down the page