Search for the name, locality, period or a feature of a locality. You'll then be taken to a map showing results.

War Memorial Garden, Witham


The Witham War Memorial is a stone monument in a small garden close to Witham town centre. It has four original panels inscribing 82 names of those who died in World War I.Another two panels were added (one either side) after the Second World War recording a further 40 names. An additional name was added to the lower panel of a World War 2 panel in 2011 as a memorial of the Afghanistan War.

The Essex County Council document ‘NEWLAND STREET CONSERVATION AREA APPRAISAL AND MANAGEMENT PLAN' contains the following description ‘The war memorial is located on the corner of The Avenue in attractive and well-maintained gardens. The gardens appear to be well used, even if mainly as a walk-through to cut off the corner. The benches enhance the amenity value of this space providing a welcome breather from the busy main road. The memorial itself is a good example of its kind, dated 1920 but with additions for WWII, and is Grade II listed. It is by Sir Charles Nicholson with a fine bronze plaque by Gilbert Ledward (Bettley and Pevsner 2007)'.


The corner of Newland Street, and The Avenue, Witham, Essex.

This is a busy corner controlled by traffic signals. Newland Street is the main London to Colchester Roman Road although the modern trunk road (A12) now by-passes the town. The Avenue is a residential road linking Newland Street with the main road to Braintree.


The memorial and garden is owned and maintained by Braintree District Council. The Braintree & Witham Times on 7th March 2007 reported "A WAR veteran has criticised the upkeep of a memorial garden, saying it looks really pathetic and is a let-down to fallen soldiers. Ron Sanders, president of the Witham branch of the Royal British Legion, claimed Braintree Council had not kept the Witham Remembrance Gardens up to scratch. However, a council spokesman said the area had been transformed since October...".

It has been reported that responsibility might be handed over to Witham Town Council, but in the same report"...However, town mayor Phil Barlow said talks had been held before, but Braintree Council would not hand over the budget to carry out the work [to the Town Council]". The town Council already manages the town's River Walk under lease from the district council and also a number of open spaces and nature reserves. However, there has been no suggestion recently of any problem with the maintenance of the Memorial Garden so the garden is now well maintained and controversy free.

There is a rare tree in the Memorial Garden. The Witham & Countryside Society Tree Group of 1971 reported in BULLETIN 9 "We were surprised and encouraged by the interest which members showed in the small scheme for increasing the number of Ginkgo trees in Witham. So we thought it would be of interest if we rounded the year off by reporting all we know about this tree and why we paid some attention to it. The Maidenhair tree, it ought not to exist being comparable with the Dinosaur, but with one difference; it lives. Like the Larch it is a deciduous conifer though the layman finds this description hard to understand for it could not be more different in appearance and habitat. It owes its survival to the fact that it was a sacred tree in the Orient and was grown in temperate gardens for centuries. It is never found in the wild state and has survived because generations of gardeners have propagated it mainly from cuttings".

The Braintree & Witham Times reported on 18th December 2014: "GINKGO biloba trees are my favourite trees in Witham. I only know of three of them. Their leaves are a startling bright yellow in autumn and are a distinctive fan shape. Witham's ginkgo trees are less than 150 years old, but fossils show that in the world as a whole, they are the oldest living tree, dating back more than 250 million years, having survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. Our own trees are a "living fossil", to quote Charles Darwin. For about the last three million years, the only ones surviving in the wild have been in China. In 1762 some seeds were brought from China to Kew Gardens, and in due course ginkgo bilobas were planted in high-class gardens all over Britain". The tree is in a corner of the garden diagonally opposite the corner of NewlandStreet/The Avenue.


The Witham War Memorial is a part of the social fabric of the town, it is a centre for the remembrance of the town's war dead also a quiet haven for residents, visitors and those who work in the town.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


Braintree District Council

Causeway House, Bocking End, Braintree, Essex, CM7 9HB


The original monument is made of stone including a central Celtic cross with a bronze plaque below depicting a classical equestrian soldier and contemporary foot soldier of WWI. It is in the Art-Deco style of the period. There were two double side panels with the names of those who fell in WWI inscribed with the service and company they served with, containing 82 names inscribed on four panels. The inscription reads ‘1914-1918 To the Honour of The Men of Witham who under the flag of freedom fell in the Great War. Their name liveth for evermore". Another panel was added either side after WWII headed ‘1939-1945' with a further 40 names inscribed. One civilian is included. A part of a 1939-1945 panel lower segment was further inscribed in 2011 headed ‘Afghanistan 2011' with one more name.

Road names of a new housing estate off Maltings Lane, Witham, have been taken from names on this memorial.

The Royal British Legion utilise the memorial for their annual Remembrance Parade and march on Remembrance Sunday each year, including the traditional wreath laying ceremonies. In the meantime the garden is used by town residents, visitors and those who work in the town as a peaceful resting place. The garden is maintained by Braintree District Council. It is situated on the corner of Newland Street, the main thoroughfare through the town, and The Avenue, a residential street developed between the two world wars but now acting as a through route for H.G.Vs. It is opposite the original wall (Listed Grade II) to The Grove, a large house demolished in the early 20th century. A short walk from the town centre, the garden is well placed for tranquil relaxation.

The War Memorial Garden, Witham is part of the Fields in Trust historic protection programme and has been protected since December 2015 under the Centenary Fields protection type.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Key Information





Principal Building

Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces


20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Open to the public


Civil Parish