Thursday, 4 February 2016

War Memorials of Norton in Hertfordshire

Norton is a small village in Hertfordshire, one of the three original villages which were absorbed into Letchworth Garden City, the other two being Willian and Old Letchworth. The village is known to have existed by 1007, with remains of the medieval settlement visible as earthworks in a field beside the church. However, the history of the village goes back even further than that. Archaeological excavations in Norton have revealed evidence of human activity in the area going back to before around 3000 BC. People lived at different sites in the village during the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age, with continuity into the Roman period. Anglo-Saxon occupation is evident from a small cemetery discovered at Blackhorse Road in 1957 and a settlement discovered at Kristiansand Way in 1989, thought to be the lost site of Rodenhanger. It was during this latter period that the first written evidence about Norton appeared. A charter relating to Norton dating from AD 1007 is the earliest document to survive, recording its donation to the Abbey of St Albans and claiming that it had originally been given by Offa, King of Mercia, in the eighth century, together with Rodenhanger, a lost site said to lie together with Norton. The manor appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was listed among the lands belonging to the Abbots of St Albans. The records of the manorial courts, which date from AD 1244, give an extensive overview of the life of Norton's villagers during the medieval period. Following the Dissolution of St Albans Abbey in 1539 the manor of Norton passed into private hands, but its manorial courts continued to record the activities of its villagers until 1916. [1]

St Nicholas, Norton, Hertfordshire
The village church, dating back to the early twelfth century AD, is dedicated to St Nicholas, and has eight light bells hung for change ringing. Since the construction in the same parish of the much larger St George's church in the town, St Nicholas's has become a chapel of ease [2]. It is still used regularly from Easter to October, and is very popular for wedding ceremonies. [3]

St Nicholas Memorial Lychgate

Lychgate Memorial Inscription
X Erected by villagers of Norton and friends
in reverence of God and in memory of George James
Pierson vicar for 68 years - Also in proud remembrance
of men of this village who fell in the war 1914-19
George Smith 1st. Class Petty Officer R.N.

and as a thankoffering for
the safe return of sixteen
other men of the village X
George Sherwood Pte 1st. Herts Regt.
Arthur Sherwood Pte. Royal Berks
Charles Deverill Cnr. R.F.A.

Bernard Gibbons

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [4]
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Gibbons, Bernard
1625259 Sergeant
Rank: Sergeant
B. Gibbons
Trade: Pilot
Service No: 1625259
Royal Air Force
Date of Death: 09/04/1945
9th April 1945  Age 21
Age: 21
Not Goodbye, My Darling
Only Goodnight
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 630 Sqdn.

Grave Reference: N.E. of Church.

Cemetery: Norton (St. Nicholas) Churchyard

Additional Information: Foster son of Raymond Cyril Gray and Florence Beatrice Gray, of Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

Kenneth Ronald Halliday

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [5]
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Halliday, Kenneth Ronald
1335256 Sergeant
Rank: Sergeant
K. R. Halliday
Trade: W.Op./Air Gnr.
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Service No: 1335256
Royal Air Force
Date of Death: 18/12/1943
18th December 1943  Age 33
Age: 33
At the going downof the sun
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
and in the morning
Grave Reference: N.E. of Church.
we will remember them
Cemetery: Norton (St. Nicholas) Churchyard

Additional Information: Son of Louis and Helen Halliday; husband of Launa Halliday, of Letchworth.

Richard Charles Shoebridge

Vera Shoebridge

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [6]
Shoebridge, Richard Charles
Loving Memory
Rank: Sapper
Service No: 33047
Sapper R. C. Shoebridge,
Date of Death: 11/06/1915
B. Co. R. E.
Age: 21
Died at Chatham 11th June 1915,
Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers "B" Coy.
Aged 21 Years
Grave Reference: South of Church.
"For Thee, O Dear, Dear Country"
Also of
Vera, (sister)
Died 15th Jan. 1921.
Additional Information: Son of Richard and Amelia Shoebridge, of 171, Baldock Rd., Letchworth, Herts.
"Peace, Perfect Peace"

Louis Joseph Ledoux

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [7]
Ledoux, Louis Joseph
Louis J. Ledoux
Rank: Korporaal mil
Date of Death: 02/12/1917
Regiment/Service: Belgian Army
Pour La
Grave Reference: North East of Church.
Cemetery: Norton (St. Nicholas) Churchyard

Alphonse Francois Dumont

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [8]
Dumont, Alphonse Francois
Alphonse - F.
Rank: Soldaat 2 kl OV
Soldat V. D. G.
Date of Death: 19/03/1916
5e Regiment de Ligne
Regiment/Service: Belgian Army
Ne a Croix (Fr.)
Grave Reference: North East of Church.
Le 4 Janvier 1895
Cemetery: Norton (St. Nicholas) Churchyard
Mort Pour La Belgique

Le 19 Mars 1916

Sylvain Armand Sortet

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [9]
Sortet, Sylvain Armand
Sylvain A.
Rank: Soldaat 2 kl V.M.P.
Date of Death: 05/06/1918
1er Regt de Grenadiers
Regiment/Service: Belgian Army
Ne a Lodelinsart
Grave Reference: North East of Church.
Le 27 Octobre 1883
Cemetery: Norton (St. Nicholas)
Mort Pour La Belgique
Le 5 Juin 1918

Denis Thonissen

Monumental Inscription
CWGC Record [10]
Thonissen, Denis
Rank: Soldaat 2 kl mil
Date of Death: 20/01/1918
13e Linieregiment
Regiment/Service: Belgian Army
Geboren Te Asch
Grave Reference: North East of Church.
Den 23 April 1879
Cemetery: Norton (St. Nicholas)
Stierf voor Belgiƫ
Den 20 Januari 1916

[1] Wikipedia (,_Hertfordshire)
[2] A chapel of ease is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently. Some chapels of ease are buildings which used to be the main parish church until a larger building was constructed for that purpose. For example, the small village of Norton, Hertfordshire, contains the mediaeval church of St Nicholas, which served it adequately for centuries; but when the large new town of Letchworth was built, partly within the parish, St Nicholas's became too small to serve the increased population. This led to the building of a new main church building for the parish, and St Nicholas's became a chapel of ease. (
[3] Wikipedia (,_Hertfordshire)
[4] Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20BERNARD)
[5] Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20KENNETH%20RONALD)
[6] Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20RICHARD%20CHARLES)
[7]  Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20LOUIS%20JOSEPH)
[8] Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20ALPHONSE%20FRANCOIS)
[9] Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20SYLVAIN%20ARMAND)
[10] Commonwealth War Graves Commission (,%20DENIS)