Monday, November 12, 2012

The War Memorial Reredos and Roll of Honour Panel

Last week I got to see inside the church for the first time and saw the remains of the reredos in the chancel... I noticed that the carvings on it were identical to the war memorial and that shed some light on something that had been bothering me...

Recently I was sent a copy of a history of the church written in 1925 by Rev C.T. Dawson. In this the Rev. Dawson says that in 1920 'The War Memorial Reredos and Roll of Honour Panel were erected and dedicated.' In the same book he referred to my photo of the War Memorial as the Roll of Honour Panel.

I realised that I had been misunderstanding the inscription on the War Memorial - the reference to 'this reredos' is in fact to the full reredos in the church - the Roll of Honour Panel which I have been researching was not part of the reredos.

This doesn't affect my project but does significantly increase the impressiveness of the St James War Memorial. Here is a photo of the War Memorial Reredos from 1971, the Roll of Honour Panel was attached to the wall on the left, out of the photo. 

And here is a photo of what was left by about 1995:

Not too bad considering the amount of vandalism and fire-setting that had gone on over the years. The church was made more secure in 1998 and extensive work was carried out between 2000-2002 to get it ready to open again.
However, the next available photograph, from 2000 shows this:
Most of the detailing from the central panel has gone, including the top, and all 4 of the side panels are gone.
I can't find any reference to it being stolen or taken away for safekeeping so it's a bit of a mystery. I'm hoping to find out. The ogee arch in the middle was broken and later reattached so it's likely at least some of the decoration was lost to vandalism but it seems more likely to me that the large side-panels were removed and stored.

I'll update you when I know more!

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