THE man behind some of the county’s most striking war memorials has been thrown into the fight over a heritage treasure.

One-off works from Leominster-based sculptor William Storr-Barber have been revealed at Leominster’s Grange Court.

While gathering intelligence ahead of another battle with Herefordshire Council about Grange Court’s future, jeweller Duncan James struck gold for his side’s arguments.

Tucked above an office space were two terracotta panels that all too easily escaped attention. Now, they are at the forefront of a fresh bid to re-assess welldocumented – and highly controversial – renovations planned for the 17th century grade-II listed site.

Mr James found that the panels were the work of William Storr-Barber and integral to the historic Quaker influence on the town.

A Quaker himself, Storr-Barber put a portrait of prominent fellow Quaker and former Grange Court owner from 1907, Theodore Neild, on one corner, opposite a smiling “Green Man” figure that is probably based on the sculptor himself.

The third panel depicts a mermaid, the significance of which is unknown.

Duncan says he’s sure the panels haven’t featured prominently on any official assessments of Grange Court’s interiors.

He’s already lobbying English Heritage and the relevant lottery body funding the site’s makeover for the panels to be preserved as part of the planned “new look”.

The alternative, he says, is to see the panels carted off to a museum to be kept out of sight and out of context.

Storr-Barber is a name common to several of the county’s memorials – and a handful of others across the country – to those lost in the First World War.

The standing soldier is his signature, with variations ranging from a bowed head to a reversed rifle or both. Other examples of Storr-Barber’s work are seen in crosses or victory allegories.

Storr-Barber himself served in the Great War with the Royal Marines, for whom he created a memorial in Plymouth. His name can also be seen on churchyard headstones across the county.

Storr-Barber lived in Leominster between 1910 and 1924 with a yard in Etnam Street.

There, he worked on commissions to no little local renown.

Among his works is the Victory Allegory in Leominster and statue of St Ethelbert at the town’s St Ethelbert’s RC church, Bargates, right next door to the then Storr- Barber family home.

Later Storr-Barber moved to Hereford, and a yard in Commercial Road, to become a spare time stalwart of the city’s amateur dramatic scene. He died of pneumonia in 1934 aged 58.