Large Fire Spares Lenham Cross WWI Memorial in the U.K.

  Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Monday, August 8, 2022
Large Fire Spares Lenham Cross WWI Memorial in the U.K.

A fire sparked by dry conditions and hot temperatures in the United Kingdom destroyed several acres of land in the village of Lenham in Kent county but spared a giant memorial cross that lay in the center of a field.

According to The Christian Post, the cross is a memorial for those killed in World War I. It was made with chalk and cut into the hillside in 1921. The cross measures about 200 feet or 61 meters long by about 70 feet or 21 meters wide, the Independent reports.

The cross is listed on the National Heritage List for England and is maintained by Historic England.

A companion memorial – a large stone surrounded by iron railings – bears the names of the 42 Lenham villagers who died in World War I.

In later years, a second stone was placed nearby. The names of the 14 local men who were killed in World War II are inscribed on it, according to Kent Online.

Both stones were once placed at the foot of the cross, but in 1960 they were relocated to the north entrance of St. Mary’s Church in Lenham. The move was intended to make visiting the stones easier for aging and disabled friends and family members of the deceased.

During the Second World War, the cross was covered so it would not be identified as a marker by enemy aircraft.

The cross was renovated in 1983. It took 40 tons of chalk to maintain the memorial.

The cross was registered as a National Monument and War Memorial by Historic England in 2017.

“The Cross is always one of the first places we show visitors, so it was a shock to find it was totally unregistered and virtually unknown outside of Lenham,” Parish councilor Mike Cockett said.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Asmithers

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.