Stone of Remembrance


Initially termed the 'War Stone', this was the symbolic memorial device proposed and designed by Edwin LUTYENS for the memorial cemeteries of the Commonwealth graves of the Great War designed for the then Imperial - later Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Lutyens, in a letter of explanation to Fabian Ware (founder of the Commission), writes ,

'On platforms made of not less than 3 steps the upper and the lower steps of a width twice that of the centre step, to give due dignity, place one great stone of fine proportion 12 feet [3,6 m] long set fair or finely wrot, without undue ornament and trickery and elaborate carvings, and inscribe thereon one thought in clear letters so that all men for all time may read and know the reason why these stones are so placed throughout France, facing the West and facing the men who lie looking ever eastward towards the enemy. After this you can plant to desire and erect cloisters, chapels, crosses, buildings of as many varieties as to suit the always varying sites.'

Lutyens envisaged it as a universal symbol which yet has military associations. A second device, the Cross of Sacrifice, is later considered as an additional symbol. Geurs writes The War Stone offers a non-normative, universal architectural expression of an imperishable mass, which perpetuates commemoration in all eternity. In addition Lutyens is trying to find a parallel religious symbolism, an altar as a place of religious actions and the offer of sacrifices. (Geurs, 2010 : 20-22)