Devon County War Memorial

Exeter, United Kingdom

Devon County War Memorial

The Devon County War Memorial is a First World War memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and situated on Cathedral Green in Exeter, the county town of Devon, in the south west of England. It is one of fifteen War Crosses designed by Lutyens with similar characteristics, and one of two to serve as a civic memorial in a city. The first proposal for the county's war memorial was to complete the construction of a cloister at Exeter Cathedral to be dedicated to Devon's war dead, but this scheme was abandoned due to lack of funds. After considering multiple proposals, the Devon County War Memorial Committee commissioned Lutyens to design a War Cross instead. The committee chose to site the memorial on the green of Exeter Cathedral after scouting several locations. A war memorial for Exeter itself was being considered concurrently, but the committees for the two projects failed to work together, resulting in two separate memorials—the county memorial by the cathedral and Exeter City War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens.

The memorial takes the form of a simple cross. Hewn from a single block of granite quarried from Haytor on Dartmoor, it stands just to the west of the cathedral, in alignment with the altar. The cross stands on a granite plinth, which itself sits on three steps. It was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 16 May 1921. After archaeological excavations took place in the 1970s, the area was remodelled to create a processional way between the memorial and the cathedral. The memorial is a grade II* listed building, part of a "national collection" of Lutyens' war memorials. Since 2015, all of Lutyens' memorials in England have been protected by listed building status.

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