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Funding: August 2008 Archives

Heritage Lottery Fund Rescues Shrine

By Willis Fleming Historical Trust on August 20, 2008
A remarkable WW1 War Shrine at North Stoneham, near Eastleigh in Hampshire is to be restored thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The award of 50,000 will enable Eastleigh Borough Council and the Willis Fleming Historical Trust to return the shrine to its original condition, to further the conservation of the historic parkland where the monument stands, and undertake a linked series of public events.

The War Shrine was built in 1917 by landowner John Willis Fleming in memory of his son Richard and the other thirty-six men of North Stoneham parish who had died in the Great War. The shrine was built in historic North Stoneham Park, a 1000-acre parkland designed by 'Capability' Brown in the eighteenth century. The shrine's present ruinous condition reflects the great changes to the North Stoneham area over the last half century.

The year-long project will begin this November with a special ceremony at the shrine on Remembrance Sunday. The main restoration work is expected to take place next spring.

The shrine is one of an identical pair, the other was built at Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight. Both used stone from Isle of Wight quarries owned by the Fleming family. The Havenstreet Shrine was restored in the 1960s.

Landscape improvements will reinstate the North Stoneham shrine as a focal landmark within Avenue Park, and help make the park more accessible to the public. The monument's renewal will go hand in hand with an act of community remembrance, using the shrine as a key to unlocking the wider history of the local landscape - through a programme of public events, including special activities for schools.

Mark Miller of Eastleigh Borough Council said: "This is a very exciting project that will allow current and future generations to understand and appreciate an important aspect of local history."

Harry Willis Fleming of the Willis Fleming Historical Trust, said: "This is fantastic news, and a real endorsement that this neglected heritage is special and worth safeguarding for the future."

Commenting for the Heritage Lottery Fund, Head of HLF South East England Michelle Davies said: "This is an unusual example of this type of memorial and its restoration will encourage the public to discover more about its origins while enhancing the historic landscape of which it is a part."

The project is also supported by Eastleigh Local Area Committee- which has contributed 25,000 - Hampshire County Council and the Hampshire Gardens Trust. Additional funding is being sought from other sources and from individual giving.

There is an opportunity to visit the shrine in its derelict state when Avenue Park with St Nicolas Church is opened on 13-14th September as part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme.