Memorials Of The Great War
War Memorial Of The Month - October 2014
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To protect and promote the spirit and substance of the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens OM
Tyringham, in the heart of Middle England, has barely enough houses to be described as a hamlet yet even this small corner of north Buckinghamshire lost three of its sons in the War. Their particular stories make this an especially poignant memorial because they illustrate the dramatic way in which the conflict affected people’s lives. Albert Miller died what might be termed a “conventional soldier’s death” in that he died of his wounds on the Western Front in April 1917. Alfred Clench had emigrated to work on a farm in Australia in June 1914, only to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force when war was declared. He returned to Europe via Egypt and died on the Somme in August 1916. The third person, Frederick Gubbins, was the chauffeur at Tyringham House and signed up in 1916 and was posted to German East Africa where he died of pneumonia in what is now Tanzania in May 1918.
Tyringham House was owned by Frederick König who was known to Lutyens through his interest in theosophy, systems of esoteric philosophy practised with enthusiasm by Lutyens’s wife, Lady Emily, and it was via this connection that Lutyens received his commission for this most simple of memorials - a slab of Carrara marble with two verdite swags. König’s wife Gerda was one of the Ladies-in-Waiting to Princess Marie Louise (one of the many grand-daughters of Queen Victoria), who performed the unveiling ceremony on 23 June 1921.
Lutyens was to return to Tyringham in the mid 1920s when König asked him to design the classical Temples of Music and Bathing Pavilion in the garden of Tyringham House. He also designed König’s simple grave, enclosed by a box hedge, at the rear of the church in 1940 - one of the architect’s last works.
Location: Church of St Peter, Tyringham, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9ES