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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Ousby, Cumbria


Tom Morgan
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The UK National Inventory of War Memorials mentions that there are two memorials in St. Luke's Church, Ousby, Cumbria. One is a brass plaque commemorating the Second World War. In memory of the Great War (according to the Inventory) there is a single-light stained glass window measuring 1000 mm by 300mm described as follows:

(WINDOW): PRO PATRIA/ERECTED BY THE PARISHIONERS IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION/OF THE MERCY OF GOD WHO IN HIS DIVINE GOODNESS/AFFORDED HIS PROTECTION TO ALL THE MEN WHO WENT FROM/THIS PARISH TO THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918/AND SAFELY RESTORED THEM TO THEIR HOMES

A friend of mine visited the church recently and couldn't find the window. He asked the vicar for help. The vicar, who has been in post for some ten years, has no knowledge at all of this window.

Is there any Forum member with local knowledge who might be able to explain this apparent contradiction? I have contacted the Inventory people, but thought I would also ask here, as there's so much local knowledge available.

Tom

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Thanks, Dave. I had spotted that site and it adds a further dimension to the mystery. The site you mention refers to the window and says, The other window - in the south east of the nave - 'Pro Patria' - is a memorial to those who fell in World War I but the words on the (apparently non-existent) window as quoted by the UK National Inventory of War Memorials suggest that no-one from Ousby died.

Tom

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This seems a little odd, I have not seen Ousby mentioned as a thankful village previously. UKNIWM records this window as being on the south side of the church and they have a photo of it. You could ask them to send you a scan of the photo, that might help. Otherwise surely the bishop should have some info if there was a windown which was destroyed or removed?

\Spoons

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Spoons - the first suggestion I have seen that Oubsy is a Thankful Village is the UKNIWM record, which describes it as a "Blessed Village". I assume they say this on the strength of the dedication on the memorial window. But as I say, my colleague couldn't find it and the vicar of 10 years has never seen it.

We are in touch with UKNIWM - and the members of this forum - as a first couple of steps. Thanks for the suggestion that the Diocese might have some information. We'll certainly follow that route, too.

Tom

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Tom

You might try the diocesan Registrar's office at Carlisle [probably] rather than the bishop; a faculty would be needed before a window could be installed or removed and the registrar would keep these records [so should the parish, but that's another story].

Daggers

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This is the list of thankful villages that I am familiar with and as you see, Ousby is not listed

thankful villages

\Spoons

Spoons, your latest post brings the Ousby question full-circle! The list on the "historic-uk" site you refer to was drawn up by me and a couple of friends and comes from an article on my site. Below the list you can see a link to the original Hellfire Corner article. The reason that Ousby isn't included is that we're trying to check the evidence - starting with trying to get a look at the window.

Tom

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Doh!

I guess that means my other bookmarked reference on Wikipedia is also yours! One futher thought, up here in Scotland the parish church memorial often only has the names of those who worshipped there, members of other churches would not be listed. Is it possible that a catholic/presbyterian/athiest etc died and is accordingly not listed? The local branch of the British Legion may be aware of other local memorials that are not listed on UKNIWM.

I think it is generally accepted that there were no thankful villages in Scotland.

\Spoons

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Tom

You might try the diocesan Registrar's office at Carlisle [probably] rather than the bishop; a faculty would be needed before a window could be installed or removed and the registrar would keep these records [so should the parish, but that's another story].

Daggers

Daggers, thanks for your input, which I missed until today. I think my friend has got the vicar looking into this and I assume he'll probably take the route you mention. The suggestion that the window has been removed is a good one. UKNIWM says the memorial is there. The vicar says it isn't there. One explanation which would make everyone right in what they say, is that the window has been taken away for some reason.

Tom

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Hello Tom

Every county has to compile and maintain an Historic Environment Record. It might be worth contacting them. My database of HERs gives Cumbria's here.

However, it isn't unusual to find mistakes in the HERs (I've found some, including Great War Memorials listed as being erected in 1904) and the methods of surveying are not always rigorous. On the other hand, some counties are excellent at making records.

'Losing' a window seems quite a large-scale misplacement, but I'm reminded of a visit I made to a building in order to photograph a relief on the external wall of a drill hall. The relief was listed in an inventory of historic buildings. The owner of the premises swore it didn't exist, but he agreed to take me round in a search, and there it was, proudly on display. He'd worked there for years and was so familiar with the place that he just hadn't noticed the relief. I think many of us know that feeling.

I have quite a few other sources which I'll peruse on the offchance that there's something which will throw some light on your quest.

Gwyn

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Thanks very much, Gwyn. I didn't know anything about county Historic Environment Records. I've just had a very interesting look around the site you linked to. I'll pass the details on to my colleague who is running our search for the window. (Only one person makes all the contacts to avoid a source of information getting three requests for the same info, from different directions).

How true that people who spend a lot of time in a certain enviroment don't always see the small details that exist. I'm certainly guilty of this myself and I've seen it in others. This particular window, according to UKNIWM, is 1000 mm x 300 mm - about 3 ft x 1 ft. So it's really quite small, compared to a whole church and I suppose it could easily have been missed.

Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well done, sorting this puzzle out! [edit] I should have added that the vicar probably has at least a handful of churches in his care, but the churchwardens should have known about the window.

Daggers

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Ousby is a matter of a few miles from where I live, and I am sorry I did not notice this thread much longer ago. I am gratified to know there is a thankful village in the region; I am certain that mine, Skelton, is not. However, there are many tiny unlikely little places in Cumbria, and I find it difficult to imagine that they cannot all have been noted. Ousby is a very insular farming community, and cannot have a population more than a couple of hundred, I am sure. No doubt it was even smaller during the war. Perhaps it would have been a stroke of bad luck if men from that village had lost their lives!

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