Location: St Andrew’s Church, Mells, Somerset, BA11 3PW
An interesting site as it contains two battlefield crosses and a large memorial as well as burials for Siegfried Sassoon, Ronald Knox, Sir Maurice Bonham Carter, Baroness Asquith, George A. Birmingham (aka James Owen Hannay), Christopher Hollis, Katherine Asquith, widow of Raymond Asquith and Reginald McKenna. The Horner family who also lived and are buried here will be forever associated with the Rhyme Little Jack Horner. The memorial to Horner is by Munnings with a plaque by Luytens and text by Gill. The church contains a Norman font and Glass which dates to the 1860s.
Details on cross:
In loving memory of Lieut Raymond Asquith
Died of Wounds
15 9 16
Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved): Appear to be painted
Cross is placed too high for precise measuremnts – the following are estimates
Cross beam width:600m
Width of wood:60m
Thickness or depth:60mm
Circle plate (if celtic type)
Outer diameter: 450-500mm
Width of circle: 60mm
Mounting to wall: cannot see
Evidence of use in field: bottom 200mm shows signs of damp, wear
Surface insertion depth: 150mm – may be some elements of dried clay/mud on the side
Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc): white paint or similar
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc): Good condition.
Other information, notes and observations
Small time, but in that small time most greatly lived this star of England – epitaph on Asquith’s grave in Guillemont Road CWGC.
Son of Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, married into the Horner family of Mells. Died of wounds sustained when the Guards attacked Lesbouefs
Extract from Colin Clifford – The Asquiths
“The end for Asquith came more quickly than for most of his comrades: as he clambered out of his trench and led his company forward into the hail of shell and machine gun fire , he was hit by a bullet in the chest….Raymond knew straightaway his wound was fatal, but in order to reassure his men, he casually lit a cigarette as he was carried on a stretcher to the dressing station”
One of 3 significant WW1 memorials in the church – The Horner Memorial in the church and the Grave of Siegfired Sassoon on the graveyard are the other 2- images and more information on these can be seen here:
There is an additional memorial To Raymond Asquith with a wreath by Lutyens and inscrition by Eric Gill
Survey and photographs courtesy of James McArthur
Date of survey: 10.9.16
More details to follow.
Photographs Courtesy of Stephen Peart.