The church of St Luke at Stone Cross, built as a memorial to a Lieutenant Colonel Charles William Owen, who died in 1922, was opened in 1929 as a chapelry of St. Mary’s Church in nearby Westham, long before eventually becoming a parish of its own in 1995. Owen, incidentally, had served in India as Lord (actually, just a general at the time) Roberts’ personal surgeon some years earlier.
The war memorial was actually here before the church, and is not, in fact, the Stone Cross war memorial at all. Because this is the Westham war memorial, the parish of Westham at the time including smaller villages such as Stone Cross, and it was placed here in the early 1920s in what was the centre of Westham parish at the time, when the view beyond would have been nothing but open fields.
Ironically, now that Stone Cross is a separate parish from Westham, it means that Westham’s war memorial – this one – is no longer in the parish of Westham. All very confusing. Anyway, we’ll return to the memorial later.
I don’t often find myself in modern churches,…
…and some parts 0f the interior of this one date to the late 1980s when the church reopened, having been closed in the 1970s due, evidently, to the lack of a congregation!
Above this memorial altar there’s a Great War Roll of Honour, and to its right…
…a couple of Tower of London poppies – I also have two, both of which I have managed to break!! Doh!
Thirty four of these names are preceded by a red cross, signifying the men who died during the Great War,…
…although apparently, this Roll of Honour, which clearly has far too many names on it for a small settlement like Stone Cross (especially a hundred years ago), may well have originally resided in Westham church porch.
The memorial altar itself is engraved with twenty names, and once resided in a small tin church at Hankham, half a mile away to the north.
The names are in two columns of ten names each,…
…and nineteen of them appear among the thirty four dead on the Roll of Honour. The one exception is Whitmore Pink, whose name appears halfway down the column nearest the camera above, but is not on the Roll.
Back to the war memorial.
Thirty six names this time, including Whitmore Pink,…
…so there’s one name on this memorial that is on neither the Roll of Honour nor the altar.
You find him.
There are also twenty Second World War casualties, including two women, one just a teenager, both killed in an air raid on Eastbourne in 1940, about which more next post when we visit Westham churchyard.