A hand-painted Roll of Honour from the Great War was discovered in an attic in Levens village, Cumbria in 2010.
The painting is on art board, and has ‘Jackson Art Studio, Lancaster’ painted on the picture at the bottom right hand corner. It may be that Jackson was the painter, or possibly just the framer. No provenance has been found.
There are no PCC minutes pre 1920 and the only reference found to the Roll is a minute from 1922 which stated that the ‘Framed Roll’ was being moved from the porch into the church.
The finder believes that his father rescued it from the church rubbish bin around 1965. It then had no frame and had some water damage but otherwise was in good order.
The bottom panel of the painting depicts Railway Wood at Ypres.
Research of the Roll to date, gives no reason why there was a panel specifically for that engagement, as there appears to be no local connection to it.
Most of those named in the Roll were members of the Border Regiment, and they appeared to play no significant part in that portion of the front. Neither of the Border Regiment or Kings Lancaster Regiment museums have seen a Roll quite like this, nor can they explain the choice of subjects for the panels.
It is possible that the Roll has been prepared from stock photographs.
The Imperial War Museum have written
‘This is a very interesting and as far as we are aware unusual roll of honour. It is not a design that I have seen before and on searching our database I found nothing similar. I would expect that this was specially commissioned. The Menin Gate, which is depicted top centre, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24 July 1927. The gate is accurately depicted and so I would say that the illustration has been made from an image of the finished gate and not from any pre-unveiling sketches.’
Researchers are still looking for documentation about it being installed in the church. Usually the diocese grant a faculty for such items, but they had no record either. It has been suggested that this was because it was not technically fixed to the fabric of the church, it hung, as most framed pictures do, by string from a hook.
The memorial reads:
To the glorious memory of the men of Levens who gave their lives in the great war 1914.1918
Walter T. Coward
William A. Fell
Leo. N Knowles
Geore. W. Mason
George W. Robinson
They died that we might live
So they passed over and all the trumpets sounded for them on the other side
If anybody has any information that may help the researchers, either about the roll itself or the men listed, then please contact us via the comments section at the end of this article.