Telling the First World War stories of 100 local families at Leicester Cathedral

 

Marking the centenary of the Armistice, WWI stories of 100 members of the church which became Leicester Cathedral are to be told on a new website.

 

Almost two thirds of the 158 households who made up the community of what was then St Martins Church, Leicester, contained someone who served in the Great War in a variety of roles from vets and nurses to soldiers and sailors.

 

The impact the war had on them and their families, and how the church responded, is the subject of a fascinating website created by former honorary archivist at the Cathedral, Elizabeth Amias.

 

The website will be launched as Elizabeth opens an accompanying exhibition at Leicester Cathedral and gives a free lecture about the local effect of the war entitled ‘What has this done to us?’ at 6.30pm on Tuesday 9th October.

 

Entry is free of charge and booking is not required.

 

The website telling the stories of 100 members of the St Martins community and their families will be live on www.warandstmartins.com from 9th October.

 

Ten transparent Perspex silhouettes of soldiers will also be installed in St George’s Chapel within Leicester Cathedral as part of the nationwide There But Not There project, representing the 40 members of the congregation who died in the War and never returned to their pews.

 

Elizabeth’s website and research also reveals many fascinating details including something of the changing attitudes during the War. Historical sources she used included the monthly parish magazine revealing much about the jingoism and rhetoric of the time which was clearly represented in the preaching of the Vicar at the time.

 

Later in the War, the Vicar moved to a quieter parish due to his heath, and was replaced by a former Army Chaplain who had served on the front in Flanders. His teaching and poetry was influenced by his horrific experiences there and reflected a changing, less judgmental attitude in British society.

 

On Monday 29th October another effect of WWI will be explored when academic Elizabeth Blood gives a lecture on how the conflict led to the creation and founding of Leicester’s first university.

These events are all part of the Cathedral’s Planet, Politics, Peace season which aims to raise questions for each of us around faith and action.

 

Covering a variety of areas from Creationtide to the WWI Armistice Centenary, the new season asks us how faith impacts our lives?

 

“The connecting thread throughout is to explore how faith influences actions and how we are called to live in our complicated world,” said Fr Johannes Arens, Canon Precentor at the Cathedral.

 

Sermons on the theme will be given by a series of guest preachers throughout the season, which runs until late November. You can find out more by clicking here.

First published on: 5th August 2019
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