To mark the Centenary of War Cloister we are putting on a special programme of events and lectures and a podcast series.
There is also an important conservation project to preserve this historic monument.
Details of the work and our fundraising towards it can be found below.
War Cloister is recognised by Historic England as the largest known private war memorial in Europe and arguably the most distinguished war memorial of any public school. It was upgraded to Grade 1 Listed Status in 2017.
Over its 100-year history it has aged well (Herbert Baker had a wonderful understanding of how a building would gain patina with age) but the paintwork inscribing the letters (the coats of arms especially) has not fared well.
After a lot of deliberation and discussion, with consideration given to consolidation, touch-up or full repaint, it was felt appropriate that the most important element of this memorial, its names, should be given a new lease of life as some, especially the First World War names, are fading and becoming difficult to read and the coats of arms are peeling.
Work has already begun and will be completed over the next 12 to 18 months.
The conservation of War Cloister is a very skilled and delicate operation which by its very nature is expensive.
We need to raise £1 million to fund the project, so far we've secured £718,191.88. If you would like to support the War Cloister Conservation Project, please press the donate button below.
Are you 40 or under? Can you help us unlock up to £40,000 of funding for War Cloister?
A generous donor has set a challenge to encourage younger Old Wykehamists to support the Conservation Project.
For every one-off donation we will receive an additional £250 and for every regular donation we will receive an additional £750 from our donor.
War Cloister was the vision of Monty Rendall, Headmaster from 1911 to 1924. It was originally designed as a memorial to the 500 Old Wykehamists known at the time to have fallen in the First World War. The total number of boys in the school, in each of the years between 1914 and 1918, was no more than 450. Effectively, Winchester lost a generation of young men to the Great War. Their names are engraved on panels on the outer walls. arranged by the year they joined the school.
In 1948, a further 270 names of Wykehamists who died in the Second World War were added on the inside of the main buttresses, facing the fallen of WW1 and using the same principle of year of entry to Winchester. War Cloister was rededicated on 14 November 1948. Additional names have been added to the plaques since the end of each war.
If you want to find information about a specific person remembered in War Cloister, then head to the Winchester College at War website.
Its conception and design owes much to the energies of two men: Monty Rendall and Sir Herbert Baker, the renowned architect. Despite the ambitious plans initially proposed by Baker and Rendall the final design for War Cloister is elegant in its simplicity yet contains a wealth of detail.
The memorial is a cloister, flint-faced, stone-dressed and oak-roofed like Wykeham’s medieval Cloisters. It has gateways, a court and arches like Wykeham’s main buildings. War Cloister’s architecture, sculpture, heraldry and symbolism all tell how the fellowship of Wykehamists was merged, by service and sacrifice, in the unity of the British Empire and allied nations in the First World War.
We have launched a special podcast series called Stories from War Cloister. Click below to listen.