The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever, with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of 750,000 British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Midsomer Norton, as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.

The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on 11th November 1920 by Rev RJ Davey. It commemorates 73 local servicemen who died during the First World War. Following the Second World War, a dedication was added to commemorate the 36 fallen of that conflict.

The memorial is a scaled-down replica of the Cenotaph, London (1920) with consent being given by its designer, Edwin Lutyens (1896-1944) to use the copyright of the design, albeit in different materials. It consists of a three stepped Blue Keynton stone base, with St Aldhelm stone cenotaph. The memorial has a bronze wreath and plaques on its faces.

The wreath is located on one of the side faces and below this is inscribed THE/GLORIOUS/DEAD with a small bronze plaque below. Midsomer Norton War Memorial of 1920 is listed at Grade II for the following reasons: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the 20th Century and for its design, being a scaled-down replica of Edwin Lutyens’ Cenotaph in London.

The Memorial is situated on a bridge over the river Somer and is owned and maintained by Midsomer Norton Town Council.

Over time the Memorial has become weathered and the inscriptions were hard to read. The Town Council commissioned David Dunscombe to carry out the cleaning in 2020 to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the erection of the Memorial.

With the pandemic raging throughout the world, the work was put on hold as the country went into lockdown. After lockdown David and his team had projects to complete that had been placed on hold, but contacted the Council in November 2022 with the good news that the project could start in February 2022.

The stone has been cleaned using small, nonferrous brushes and water and a gentle approach was taken in order not to ruin the stonework. The bronze was gently washed with water to remove any surface grime. Once the bronze was dry, a simple, clear paste wax was applied. David and his team also removed the flower beds and repaired the stonework around the Memorial.

The project was funded from the Council’s War Memorial Ear Marked Reserve.

Midsomer Norton Town Council would like to thank Celia’s hairdresser for the use of water and electric during the project and Stonebarn for replanting the flowers from the flowerbeds to the Hollies Garden.