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Holy Trinity Church Memorials, Gisborne


On Armistice Day 1920, a First World War memorial cross (‘Wayside Cross’) was unveiled in the north-west corner of the grounds of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Gisborne. Designed by an English architect, F.C. Eden, this consisted of a carved column of Sydney sandstone mounted on a concrete base. The column was surmounted by a crucifix with the emblem of England (the rose) at either end of the cross-piece. What was described in a contemporary report as a representation of a mother and her soldier son was placed in a central niche – this was presumably the figure of Mary holding the body of the crucified Jesus that appears there today.

On its western face the memorial was inscribed: “To all the fallen of the Great War, 1914-18. Their names liveth forever”; on the eastern face: “This memorial was erected by the efforts of the Holy Trinity Girls’ Club, Nov. 11, 1920”; on the northern face: “Ypres, Sinai, Palestine, Jutland”; and on the southern face: “Gallipoli, Messines, Somme, Passchendaele”.

Sometime after the memorial’s unveiling the crucifix was removed. In recent years, it has been replaced by a plain cross.

Inside the church there is a war memorial organ, installed in 1952. This is accompanied by a roll of honour listing the names of 73 men from the parish who gave their lives in the Second World War. On 29 April 1956 the Lady Chapel was also dedicated as a memorial chapel: “Under the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in honour of the women of this parish who amid the stress of war, supported with their prayer and labour their menfolk serving overseas”.

The church also holds three family First World War memorials: a bronze plaque dedicated to three brothers, Trooper James Halloran Bremner (d. 8 September 1915), Lance Corporal John Roberson Bremner (d. 22 June 1916) and Trooper William Gilbert Booth Bremner (d. 20 January 1917); and a marble tablet and a hymn board which are both dedicated to Sergeant Harold Renwick (d. 18 July 1917).

Sources: ‘The Memorial Cross’, Poverty Bay Herald, 11/11/1920, p. 4; A.D. Ward, A History of the Parish of Gisborne, Gisborne, 1960, pp. 35, 41.


Bruce Ringer, Auckland Libraries, 2015

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Holy Trinity Church Memorials, Gisborne, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated