Alrewas: Auxiliary Territorial Service Statue

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Located along Millennium Avenue at the National Arboretum is the above life-size statue. Dedicated to the members who played an important role in World War II, the statue depicts an Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) girl wearing the basic khaki uniform. The ATS was formed in September 1938 and was made up of volunteers who underwent six weeks of basic training. The ATS was disbanded in 1949 and the Women’s Royal Army Corps was formed. The memorial statue is the work of sculptor Andy De Comyn who used his wife Francesca as the model. Consisting of a cementitous render over a reinforced concrete core, the appearance of the statue is akin to limestone and designed to withstand weathering and acid rain.

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Corbridge: Arecurius

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The above sandstone statue is thought to depict a native British god of the underworld – Arecurius. The only known inscription of this god, the statue was dedicated by a Roman citizen named Cassius Apollinaris. Pouring a libation over an urn on top of an altar, the near nudity, cloak and pose suggest that Mercury was used as a model although it features none of his characteristic attributes – the caduceus (wand), broad hat, winged sandals and purse (Grimal, 1991). It is possible that Arecurius was a Celtic deity which means ‘of the district of Curia’ or that the mason misread the cursive script (RIB1123).

Durham: Neptune Statue

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In Market Place in Durham centre stands the impressive heroic figure of Neptune. The life size lead statue depicts the bearded figure standing over a dolphin and raising his trident as though to strike. The beautiful sculpture is surmounted upon a corniced column of sandstone and now stands in its original site thanks to an appeal fund organised by the Durham Trust. The statue was originally given to the city in 1729 by George Bowes of Gibside and represents Durham’s link to the sea. The sculpture was restored in 1986 and following its move to Wharton Park, Neptune was returned to its current location in May 1991.

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In classical mythology Neptune was the Roman god identified with Poseidon. As one of the twelve Olympians (Iliad 15. 187-192), Neptune ruled over the waters (Metamorphoses 13. 854-858) and was originally a freshwater divinity who acquired his attributes from Greek mythology. The first historians, who wrote in Latin, were familiar with Greek mythology and many of the Roman legends are adaptations that stem from Greek myths. The Olympian Neptunus was equated with Poseidon, one of the twelve principle Roman gods, by the poet Ennius. Although the development of railway transport improved links with the city and the coast, Durham had aspired to be linked to the sea via the river Wear. As such, the personification of water was erected to symbolize Durham’s ambitions.

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Durham: Light Infantry War Memorial

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Located in Market Place in Durham centre stands the above war memorial. Honouring the Durham Light Infantry regiment, the bronze sculpture of a soldier symbolises the moment after the infantry buglers sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953. The sculpture is set upon a white stone plinth featuring the regimental badge and bears a dedication to all those who served in the regiment. A quotation on the rear of the plinth from Montgomery of Alamein reads “There may be some regiments as good but I know of none better.” The monument was unveiled in September 2014 and is the work of Edinburgh artist Alan Herriot.

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Corbridge: Statue of Jupiter

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The above Statue of Jupiter holding a staff was found in the aedes (chapel in the headquarters building) at Corbridge Roman Fort. Although much of the statue is missing, Jupiter can be identified by his staff or sceptre, and the drapery over his shoulders and round his waist, leaving the torso bare. Jupiter was the great Italian sky-god, the forms of whose name are etymologically connected with other Indo-European sky-gods, including Zeus. Known by many titles, as sky-god he directly influenced Roman public life in which the weather omens of thunder and lightning, his special weapons, played an important role. His many titles indicate his supreme importance in all matters of the state’s life in war and peace (Morford, Lenardon & Sham, 2011). The role of Jupiter in Roman religion became increasingly important and he was seen as the ‘president’ of the council of gods and the source of all authority. During the Empire, the emperors placed themselves under the protection of Jupiter and every provincial city had a Capitol similar to the one in Rome; the Triad (Jupiter, Juno & Minerva) would be installed with Jupiter enthroned in the centre. With each of the daughter cities imitating a small copy, Jupiter represented the political bond between Rome, the mother city (Grimal, 1991). As king of the gods and patron of the empire, this would have been an appropriate statue for the location in which it was discovered.

Craven Arms War Memorial

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Standing in St John the Baptist Churchyard in Stokesay is Craven Arms War Memorial. The memorial was unveiled on 29 July 1921 by Brigadier General Rotton C.B., C.M.G. and dedicated by the Venerable Archdeacon Lilley. Originally erected on Corvedale Road in Craven Arms, a rededication service took place on the 17th October 1999 when the memorial was re-positioned in its current location. The monument has a two stepped base of Hornton stone and depicts a WW1 rifleman sculpted from sandstone. Inscribed onto the sides of the plinths are the names of those who lost their lives in both World Wars and the names of those who fought but happily returned home are also listed. The monument is the work of the sculptor William G Storr Barber who served in the Great War with the Royal Marines. At the time the monument was moved in 1999, the War Memorials Trust contributed funds to renovate and conserve the memorial which included re-pointing, re-lettering and cleaning.

The memorial is Grade II Listed.

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Penrith: Black Angel Memorial

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On elevated ground over-looking Penrith Castle stands the war memorial known locally as The Black Angel. The monument was originally unveiled in 1906 in Corney Square and is dedicated to the men from Penrith who died during the Boer War in South Africa (1899−1902).

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The monument was moved to its current position in Castle Park in 1964 due to concerns from pollution damage. The central panel lists the names of those who lost their lives and is surmounted by a winged angel holding a wreath. The name, The Black Angel, also refers to the book of the same name by Colin Bardgett. The book details the stories and letters written by men of the Penrith Volunteer Company who fought during the Boer War. Not only is the book a military record, it contains a Roll of Honour and valuable information relating to local history. The Black Angel, both book and monument, are a memorial to the Volunteer Companies of Cumberland and Westmorland.

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With little camera exposure (below), the monument lives up to its name by taking the physical appearance of The Black Angel.

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