First World War cross, St Cuthbert’s

February 2011

Churchyard WW1 cross, St Cuthbert's, York
St Cuthbert's churchyard cross – detail

In the churchyard of St Cuthbert’s on Peasholme Green is this interesting example of a local memorial to the casualties of the First World War. It has a beautifully weathered wooden cross at the top with a Latin motto, and then various inscriptions around the base. The side facing you as you approach the church door remembers the parishioners who died in the 1914-18 conflict.

The women and children did their part

Round the back, on the side facing the church wall, it reads:

The women and children did their part.

In so few words it sums up that very different age, being so obviously well-meaning, and presumably at the time it meant a lot to the women and children to get a special mention. Nowadays, its inscription looks anachronistic and rather patronising, and reminds us of a time when ‘women and children’ were grouped together – let off sinking ships first, not allowed to vote. While ‘men were men’, and considered it their duty to be manly and troop off to war without complaint.

The memorial records that 865 parishioners served in the war.

More information

The record for this monument on the UK National Inventory of War Memorials

The next major conflict saw women playing a more active role, and a more recognised one: WAAF memorial, Elvington

Latin motto – In hoc signo vinces – Wikipedia

For a wealth of information on York’s memorials to the First World War, see the local website York and The Great War. It includes an alphabetical list of honour, and photographs and transcriptions from local memorials, small and large, from York and surrounding villages.

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