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Thursday, 10 December 2015

War Memorials of Anstey in Hertfordshire

Anstey is a village and civil parish in the East Hertfordshire district of Hertfordshire, England, about fifteen miles north-east of Stevenage. According to the 2001 census the population of the parish was 338. There is at least one book on the history of this village titled "Anstey, a Hertfordshire Parish" written in 1929 by Rev Frank Ricardo Williams, M.A. He was the rector from 1907–28,( died 19 May 1937). The parish church dates from the 12th Century and is dedicated to St George [1].

St George’s Church in Anstey
St George’s Church in Anstey is one of five churches in a benefice. For information about the benefice and details of church services please visit the Benefice website at http://www.quintetchurches.com/welcome.htm.

St George’s is a medieval building dating from the 12th Century. It was rebuilt around 1200 by Sir Richard de Anestie whose ornate but damaged tomb is in the church. Some of the material from the castle which stood behind the church is thought to have been incorporated in the building. The church is of cruxiform design and the Central Tower holds a ring of six bells, the earliest being from the 15th Century and the last from 1778.

WW1 Monument. Celtic cross. Bas-relief sword on the cross.

WW1 Monument - List of the dead

To The Glory Of God
And In Honoured Memory Of
The Men Of This Parish
Who Fell In The Great War
1914-1919

B. Bentley
H. G. Hicks
H. J. Bradford
K. Martin
B. G. Catley
F. L. Scripps
A. Caton
H. R. Smith
F. J. Chappell
G. W. Strange
R. Coxall
H. P. Wick

They Died That We Might Live

As well as the monumental cross there is also a rectangular brass plaque inside the church with inscription lettering in black and red. Strangely the plaque only has ten of the twelve names found on the cross.

WW1 Rectangular brass plaque.

To The Memory Of
Those Who Fell In The Great War
1914-1918

Cpl. Bert Bentley. M.G.C.
L. Cpl. Bernard Catley. M.G.C.
L. Cpl. Frank Scripps. R.F.
L. Cpl. George Strange. Bed. Reg
Pte. Herbert Smith. Bed. Reg.
Pte. Herbert Bradford. R.E.
Pte. Frederick Chappell. A.I.F.
Pte. Reggie Coxall. E. Surrey. Reg.
Pte. George Hicks. Middlesex.
Driver Arthur Caton. R.F.A.

A very interesting and detailed history of these men lost in WW1 has been researched by Jenny Goymour and published online on the Anstey Village website at http://www.ansteyvillage.co.uk/history/. In addition to the fallen she has also researched the 45 men, from Anstey, who are reported as having served in WW1. So far she has found about a third of the 45 and details can be seen at http://www.ansteyvillage.co.uk/history-1-2/. If you have any further information on any of these men please email Jenny at ansteysoldiers@gmail.com.

As well as the monuments for the fallen of WW1 the church also has a framed and glazed roll of honour for those who served in WW2, with lettering by hand in black.

Anstey Roll of Service in WW2

Parish of Anstey
Roll of Service in World War
1939-1946.
Baker. S.
Flack. L. H.
Bentley. A.
Flack. L. S.
Catley. F.
Fordham. D.
Catley. H.
Grillet. C.
Catley. P.
Honeyborn. H.
Chappell. D.
Inwood. R.
Chappell. F.
Kilkeen. J.
Chappell. L.
Martin. T.
Chappell. R.
Patmore. V.
Chappell. T.
Phillips. E. F.
Copeland. D.
Priest. R.
Dodkin. E.
Stoten. L.

UK Friends of the 398th Bomb Group created a memorial to the men who died in the air and ground crews stationed at Base 131, Nuthampstead, England during the twelve-month period in 1944-45. This memorial was in the form of a beautiful stained-glass window in St. George's Church, Anstey, England with the names of all 298 men who died appearing in the stained glass.

398 Bomb Group USAF Window commemorating the men who gave their lives

The artist, Patrick Reyntiens, depicted the flight of the Israelites by symbolizing the Pillars of Smoke and Pillars of Fire that led them out of Egypt by day and by night. The window consists of three columns. The one on the left represents the smoky clouds, out of which stream many B-17 Flying Fortresses ascending upward. The column on the right represents the fire with B-17s descending, symbolizing the tumult through which the survivors passed. The window includes butterflies whose wings are inscribed with the names of the 298 men who gave their lives. The memorial was dedicated by the Bishop of St Albans and unveiled by HRH The Duke of Gloucester on June 11, 2000 attended by more than a hundred members of the 398th, English friends, dignitaries, and officials.


[1] Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anstey,_Hertfordshire)