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War Shrine

Sir Thomas Fleming (1544-1613), Lord Chief Justice of England, and Dr. Thomas Willis (1621-1675) physician and natural philosopher. Their lineages were united in the 18th century following the marriage of the antiquary Browne Willis (1682-1760) to the heiress of the Fleming family’s possessions.

Picture of Richard T C Willis Fleming 1896-1916
Richard T C Willis Fleming 1896-1916

Sir Thomas Fleming acquired North Stoneham Manor, Hampshire, in 1599 and then in 1609 much of the former Quarr Abbey lands.

The Havenstreet Shrine was built in 1917, on farmland overlooking the village of Havenstreet, in Hill Ground field on Coppidhall Farm with views over much of the Fleming Estate. The shrine was built in memory of 2nd Lieut. Richard Willis Fleming, who had been killed in action in Egypt on the 4th August 1916, the day of his twentieth birthday. He was the second son of the landowner, John Willis Fleming.

The shrine was one of two: the other being built at Stoneham Park. These were the very last buildings to be made of Binstead stone from the Fleming family’s quarries on the Isle of Wight. The name of the Shrine’s architect is unknown, however the buildings contained decorative work by the renowned sculptor Eric Gill.

The shrine, which was for the parishes of Havenstreet and Binstead, was dedicated on Sunday 30 June 1918.

A report in the local newspaper of 1918: “The building [at Havenstreet], which is built of stone from the Fleming quarries, consists of three compartments. In the centre is an altar and crucifix on either side of which have been temporarily fixed the names of those who have so nobly and heroically made the supreme sacrifice. The compartments on either side are intended for prayer, and are enclosed with oak doors, while the centre gate consists of handsome iron scroll work.”

For many years fresh flowers continued to be placed at the shrines and Sunday School children taken they’re to pray. Today the War Shrine remains highly evocative of its era.

See Stoneham Park House External link image

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:47

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