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Charles D'Orville Pilkington Jackson

(1887-1973) – War memorial sculptor

Born at Garlenick House in Creed parish, Charles studied sculpture at the Edinburgh College of Art. Although only 5’ 4” tall, during the war Charles served as a staff officer to General Allenby in Egypt and Palestine. He returned to sculpt war memorials at Rothesay and Edinburgh Castle.

Credit: Grampound with Creed Heritage Centre

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Charles D’Orville Pilkington Jackson was born in 1887 at Garlenick in the parish of Creed, Cornwall. After his father died in 1889, his mother brought Charles and his sister Gwendoline to live in Fore Street, Grampound. In a 1951 letter to a more recent owner of Garlenick he wrote, ‘After we left for Scotland in ’98 we still came back for holidays spent between Garlenick and my other granny at Looe’.

He was educated at Musselburgh and studied sculpture at the Edinburgh College of Art.  At a later date he taught at the College but made his name with his architectural and public sculptures which can be found at many sites across Scotland and around the world. 

During the First World War Charles served in the Ayrshire Field Artillery Brigade; on the 29th August 1914 he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 52nd Lowland Brigade.   After 1916 he served in Egypt and Palestine as a Staff Officer under General Edmund Allenby and gained a mention in dispatches.

When the war ended he was commissioned to design a large number of war memorials in Scotland and from 1924-27 was the supervising sculptor for the Scottish War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.  During the Second World War, and now in his 50s, Jackson served as a Gun Operations Room Officer in Edinburgh and, after that war, created more memorials in both Scotland and England.

His most famous, and possibly most challenging, work is of Robert the Bruce sited at Bannockburn. He was in his 70s when he started on this project which needed 3 tonnes of clay and got little financial support (at one desperate point the appeal committee asked for every Scot to give a penny each to the fund.) No Scottish foundry was big enough to cast the bronze so the plaster model was sent to a firm in Cheltenham, but was returned as not enough money was available to pay for the job to be done. It was eventually paid for and unveiled by the Queen in 1964.

An inventory of his major works lists 61 pieces, fitting for a career which lasted around 61 years.

Credit: Grampound with Creed Heritage Centre and Daily Mail copyright for Robert the Bruce statue photograph