Thornbury - St Mary's Church

The Calvary Cross was erected by public subscription and dedicated by the Bishop of the Diocese on 2nd November 1919 ‘TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF THOSE FROM THIS PARISH WHO FOUGHT AND FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918’. The crowded congregation included relatives and friends of the deceased. Many servicemen and ex servicemen marched from The Plain under the command of Major Algar Howard M.C. of Thornbury Castle. A service was conducted outside the church and the Last Post sounded by Messrs G and H Philips.

The cross is made from Guiting stone from the Cotswolds. The west side carries the figure of the crucified Saviour and the east side the figures of the Holy Child and His Mother. The design and scheme were worked by Captain Blacking of Guildford. The scheme included a bronze tablet which was put inside the church porch a year later. This is inscribed with the name, rank and unit of the fallen. A special dedication service was based on the words on the tablet


There is also a wooden memorial board inside the main body of the church, to the left of the entrance. This bears the names from the bronze tablet with an additional six names. Amongst the names on the bronze tablet is that of the well known war poet: William Noel Hodgson M.C.

Poignantly the final lines from possibly his last and best known poem, ‘Before Action’ read:

‘I, that on my unfamiliar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
Must say goodbye to all of this;-
By all delights that I shall miss,
Help me die, O Lord.’

These pages have been compiled with kind permission from the Thornbury Roots Website and Thornbury and District Museum Research Group.


St. Mary's Church
Castle Street
Thornbury BS35 1HQ

Get directions

Thornbury - St Mary's Church