Unique First World War Shrine Wins Heritage Lottery Funding

By Kai Tabacek | 26 August 2008
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two photos showing concrete structures with tiled apex roofs

(Above) The Havenstreet war shrine (left) next to its twin, the North Stoneham war shrine as originally built in 1917

A First World War Shrine at North Stoneham in Hampshire is to be restored following an award of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Eastleigh Borough Council and the Willis Fleming Historical Trust are teaming up to return the shrine and the surrounding historic parkland to their original condition.

The shrine was built in 1917 by the landowner John Willis Fleming in memory of his son Richard and the other 36 men of North Stoneham parish who died in the Great War.

"This is an unusual example of this type of memorial and its restoration will encourage the public to discover more about its origins while enhancing the historic landscape of which it is a part,”said Michelle Davies of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

a photo showing a semi-relic concrete structure

The shrine in its current dilapidated state.

War shrines like these started to appear in 1916 and they predate the more conventional type of war memorial with which we are all familiar. Uniquely, the Willis Fleming family, who were major landowners in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, built two identical shrines. The other stands in Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight and was restored in the 1960s.

Expected to last a year, the restoration is part of a larger project to landscape and rejuvenate Avenue Park making the area more accessible to the public. A programme of events will use the shrine as a launch pad to explore the history of the local landscape.

Find out more about The Willis Fleming Historical Trust at www.willisfleming.org.uk