DescriptionThe village of Mells in Somerset has a deep connection with Lutyens as it was the home of his good friends and clients – Sir John and Lady Horner. As well as undertaking work on their home, Mells Manor House, he designed their graves as well as memorials to their sons – Mark (who died of scarlet fever in 1908) and Edward (who was killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917). Edward’s memorial in the Church of St Andrew is one of the most moving of all WW1 memorials and consists of a powerful equestrian statue by Sir Alfred Munnings on a Lutyens base.
It was therefore natural that Lutyens would be asked by the Horners to design a war memorial for the village and a letter to his wife written on 4 August 1919 tells how walked around Mells with Katharine Asquith and “found a perfect site in the middle of the village, which no-one else found, or thought of, and with a little tact and patience it was carried by the villagers with acclamation”.
The memorial, with a figure of St George slaying the dragon, atop a Tuscan column, was unveiled on 26 June 1921 by Brigadier-General Arthur Asquith DSO, the son of the former Prime Minister and whose brother Raymond is commemorated both on the memorial and on a simple memorial within the church designed by Lutyens with carving by Eric Gill, who also undertook the carving on the war memorial. (Contributor: Tim Skelton)
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