Stoneham War Shrine is an unusual survival of the WWI shrine movement, built during the still-raging war, and is a pre-cursor of civic war memorials.
The Arts and Crafts building was erected by John Willis Fleming in 1917 in memory of his son and thirty-six men of North Stoneham parish, being designed by architect Christopher Hatton Turnor with decorative elements ascribed to Eric Gill.
Unfortunately, the passing decades had taken their toll and at inception of the project the roofless structure was in a ruinous state, with a quantity of masonry having been robbed-out. The standing remains had been subject to both long term saturation and vandalism.
Despite the severe dilapidation sufficient evidence remained to enable accurate reconstruction of the historically important ‘lost’ building. A similar shrine erected by the Willis Fleming family on the Isle of Wight provided a point of reference for research.
The conservation project included full rebuilding. Island stone, no longer quarried, was matched geologically with a similar stone for the roof and walls; the oak-lined roof frame was reinstated with hand carved lintels; wrought iron gates and finials were forged in the traditional style, and cast components replicated. Thus traditional craft skills were used throughout.
The project engaged the local community and provided the focal point for the regeneration of the wider landscape for improved community use.