Why this giant war horse sculpture is a fitting tribute to one Yorkshire town’s past

Featherstone's majestic war horse sculpture. Picture by James Hardisty.
Featherstone's majestic war horse sculpture. Picture by James Hardisty.

It was described as majestic by those involved in its creation, and, standing at an impressive magnitude in grassland overlooking tributes to fallen soldiers, this war horse’s aura is certainly one of beauty and power.

The sculpture, in the West Yorkshire town of Featherstone, is a fitting - and, at nearly 20ft tall, rather large - nod to the community’s heritage. It is a proud testimony to local heroes whose lives were lost during the First World War.

Designed in their honour during the centenary of the conflict, it faces 353 memorial trees, planted in rows to represent each of the town’s people that made the ultimate sacrifice between 1914 and 1918.

It also pays tribute to the role horses played in Featherstone’s past, both in the mining and farming industries.

Named War Horse, A Place of Peace To Be Together, the art and its surroundings provide a community space for reflection and remembrance.

At its unveiling last April, Featherstone Town Councillor Margaret Isherwood said: “We wanted something to stand out and to be special to remember what all these men have done. It pays testament to the sacrifice that they made.”

The steel sculpture, commissioned by the town council and supported by WREN funding, was designed by Bristol artists Cod Steaks. It was taken on a 200-mile journey from the city to the pastures it now calls home, before being lifted into place by a crane, watched on by local residents.

“It’s our version of the Angel of the North,” fellow Councillor Graham Isherwood said as it arrived. “It is absolutely fabulous, words cannot describe it..”

The sculpture has drawn in visitors from the town and beyond, many unable to resist getting out their cameras to capture its grandeur.

It provided a poignant backdrop for a Remembrance service in November - and remains a meaningful focal point for its community.

Camera details: Nikon D5, Lens Nikon 12-14mm, Shutter Speed 1/640 sec, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 50.