Memorials

The Lee Parish Council is responsible for two memorials in the village:

Jubilee Well
War Memorial

Jubilee Well

The well, dug to improve the public water supply in Lee Common, was started in 1896 and finished in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

It was commissioned by Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty, and was designed and built by Liberty’s craftsmen.

The well house is hexagonal, comprising five oak panels and an oak gate beneath a tiled roof. The panels each bear part of an inscription which in total reads:

This well was built by public subscription in commemoration of Her Majesty’s diamond jubilee Anno Domini MDCCCSCVII

The well, hand dug using candles for illumination and a pair of the local blacksmith’s bellows for forced ventilation, is 365 feet deep and 4 feet 6 inches in diameter. The cables, when removed, stretched from the well to the north-western end of the allotments. There were two counter acting buckets each 4 feet 6 inches high and containing 25 gallons of water; they were raised by means of the handle on the left.

The well was closed in the early 1950s due to rising pollution levels, but the quality of the water is still regularly checked by the local water authority (Affinity Water in 2019).

The Jubilee Well was made a Grade II listed building in 1986. It is now owned and maintained by The Lee Parish Council.

War Memorial

The Lee War Memorial

The war memorial was erected in 1921, dedicated to those from The Lee who had given their lives during the Great War.

letter from Ivor Stewart-Liberty, ceding the land on which the War Memorial sits to the Parish Council

The memorial was organised by a committee chaired by Captain Ivor Stewart-Liberty, and the land on which it sits was given by him to the Parish Council in December 1920.

The memorial was dedicated and unveiled on 1 January 1921 by the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Robert Wynn-Carington, Marquis of Lincolnshire.

It is made from granite, and takes the form of a Celtic wheel cross set on a tapering shaft, tapering plinth and square base.

Originally the cross commemorated all the local servicemen who died in the First World War, including six pairs of brothers. Following the Second World War the names of 12 men who died during that conflict were added on a plaque on the plinth. A metal plaque was subsequently fixed to the base of the memorial commemorating nine men, named on the cross, who died at Fromelles on 19 July 1916. Soil from their graves was brought back and is buried beneath the plaque.

The Lee War Memorial is inscribed with the dates 1914 – 1919, rather than the more usual 1914 – 1918. This is because, although the fighting finished with the Armistice in November 1918, the war did not end officially until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919; some troops were killed or died of their wounds in this interim period.

Above the names of those commemorated is an inscription:

To the glory of God and in memory of these men of The Lee who gave their lives for King & Country Hearth & Home Freedom & Honour in Britains war against German cruelty & aggression

On the rear of the cross there is a further incription below a sword:

Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

Useful links

Historic England: The Lee War Memorial
Imperial War Museum: The Lee
War Memorials Online: The Lee
Fromelles 1916 by Michael Senior