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Filleigh War Memorial
The War Memorial in Filleigh Churchyard

Unveiled Saturday 1 September 1900

©Richard J. Brine


From the Crediton Chronicle

7 September 1901



In Filleigh churchyard on Saturday was unveiled an octagonal cross in memory of Major the Hon. Lionel H. Fortescue (17th Lancers) and other parishioners who have fallen in the South African War. The memorial (which was modelled from an ancient cross found in a wood at Castle Hill during the time of the late Earl Fortescue) is 13 feet high and of Devonshire granite. It has cost nearly £100, General Sir Redvers Buller, being among the many subscribers. At the base is inscribed:

To the memory of one who never wearied in helping others, Lionel H. D. Fortescue, third son of Hugh, 3rd Earl Fortescue, Major, 2nd in command, 17th Lancers.He was born on 19th November, 1857, at Castle Hill. He fell in the action of Diamond Hill in South Africa on June 11th 1900, and was buried hard by the field of battle.  Erected by his friends and neighbours of all conditions in the County of Devon.

And further dedicated to the honour of all brave men of this parish of Filleigh, who, like him, shall lay down their lives in the service of their country.

Fred. J. Harris, Trooper, 7th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, died, aged 28, at Pretoria, October 1900

Charles Hulland, Private, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, died at Standerton, June 8th, 1900, aged 17.


Part of the Boer War inscription

Part of the Boer War inscription

©Richard J. Brine


Not here they lie, not here but far away,

In other earth, by other grass o'ergrown,

Yet by their home this cross shall stand,

And say - they dwell among their own.

Space is reserved on the memorial for the names of other soldiers from Filleigh who may fall in the war*. At the unveiling, despite unfavourable weather, there was a very large attendance. Members of the Fortescue family present were the venerable Earl, Viscount Ebrington, the Hon. John Fortescue and Lady Susan Fortescue. The opening sentences of the service were said by Archdeacon Seymour who was assisted by the Rev. E. G. Beckwith (Filleigh) and then Earl Fortescue asked Sir Drury Lowe G. C. B, his lamented son's first commanding officer, to do them the honour of unveiling the memorial cross, observing that they gratefully appreciated the warm sympathy he had shown in coming there for the purpose.

Sir Drury Lowe, in unveiling the memorial, was glad of the opportunity of offering a tribute of love and affection to those who had lost their lives in their country's cause. From his heart he could say that there was no one there to whom the gallant soldier whose name was inscribed on the memorial was more than dear to him. He was a man - he used the word in its best sense - with a high sense of duty, a loving and devoted son and helper, a staunch friend and comrade, and a very gallant soldier. He had no doubt that the same could be said of others whose names appeared on the memorial; and they did well to honour the names of such men. It would be a solace in their sorrow to feel that those who were so dear to them in life had lost their lives in a just and righteous war. He only hoped that this memorial would be an incitement to the future youth of that parish to follow in the footsteps of those whom they were that day met to honour, and that they would, as far as possible, emulate their noble example. He would only add a few words of a son of God in the old testament, remarkable alike for patience in heavy affliction and entire submission to the will of God - "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

The hymns were "O God our help in ages past, " and "When I survey the wondrous cross", these being led by the band of the North Devon Imperial Yeomanry (Bandmaster W. J. Joint).

Archdeacon Seymour having dedicated the memorial, the National Anthem, played by the band, concluded an impressive service.


* The lettering on the Memorial was later amended to accommodate the names of the dead of two World Wars.


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