Other pages about
To view the Historic England web pages about the Battlefield Register CLICK HERE
To view a list of battlefields registered by Historic England and access the relevant battlefield report CLICK HERE (please note the battlefields listed are not all in alphabetical order)
To view Historic England's guidance on how it selects battlefields for inclusion on the Register CLICK HERE
NB. In 2015 English Heritage was divided into a charitable arm (English Heritage) responsible for the properties under its control and a statutory body (Historic England) to undertake listing and offer advice, including planning advice, about heritage. Historic England is now responsible for the Battlefield Register and adding battlefields to the register.
The establishment of the Battlefields Register in England in 1995 was an important first step in the protection of our battlefields. In 2011 the Scottish Government established an Inventory of Scottish Battlefields. In 2016 the Welsh Government established an Inventory of Historic Battlefields in Wales. Welsh battlefields can be scheduled for greater protection, but this requires a separate scheduling process to be undertaken. No battlefield register or inventory has been established in Northern Ireland.
Four battles (Lostwithiel I and II 1644, Edgcote 1469 and Winwick 1648) have been added to the English Battlefield Register since its inception and one battle (Sark 1448) has been added to the Scottish Battlefield Inventory since 2012,when a number of other battles were included.
The English Battlefield Register and Scottish Battlefield Inventory are material considerations within the planning process but, unfortunately, they do not offer any statutory protection and so our battlefields are still vulnerable to many threats.
There are however other ways in which some conservation objectives could be achieved, both at a national and a local level. The most effective management should be where a battlefield is owned or held in guardianship by a conservation or government organisation. In England, unlike Scotland, there has been no policy of acquisition of battlefields by such organisations. However one Registered Battlefield, Maldon (Essex, 991), is in the ownership of the National Trust. Another, Edgehill (Warwickshire, 1642), is largely owned by the Ministry of Defence. At least one other, Northampton (Northamptonshire, 1460), is owned by a local authority.
The Town and Country Planning Acts as amplified by the National Planning Policy Framework can control development and mineral extraction on Registered Battlefields, as was demonstrated a few years ago in a public enquiry at Tewkesbury. They also enable a local planning authority to require a prospective developer to evaluate a battlefield, whether Registered or not, to determine whether the development proposal would cause unacceptable loss of a heritage resource.
There are other conservation opportunities, such as the various agri-environment schemes, where landowners can enter into voluntary agreements to conserve sites of historic interest and to improve public access. Battlefields can be encompassed by these provisions, as for example at Myton (North Yorkshire, 1318). However to be effective there is the need for the active promotion of such schemes to landowners. A concerted effort needs to be made across the country to achieve the better conservation of battlefields through such measures.
None of these is however an alternative to effective statutory protection.