History

Historic Battlegrounds Among Military Sites In Danger Of Being Lost

Three wreckages are among the sites which remain at risk due to neglect, decay and development, while others have been salvaged.

The battlefield at Newburn Ford has been on the Heritage at Risk Register since 2009 (Picture: Historic England Archive).

A historic gunship wreck and First World War aircraft hangars are among heritage sites saved from neglect and decay, according to an annual assessment.

However, historic battlegrounds and three wreckages remain at risk due to neglect, decay and development, according to research by Historic England.

Their Heritage at Risk Register includes a weapons depot in Northamptonshire on the list of those in the UK under threat of being lost.

A large-scale excavation saw 74-gun warship HMS Invincible, which sank in the Solent in 1758, contributed to it being removed from the list.

The list of sites remaining at risk includes HMS Northumberland, which sank on Goodwin Sands off Kent during the 'Great Storm' of 1703.

The vessel was built under Samuel Pepys' plans to regenerate the Navy.

Not far from this site lies Rooswijk, a Dutch vessel containing evidence of oversees commerce with China from the 1700s, at risk due to exposure.

Joining these off Kent and under threat is HMS London, which participated in the First Dutch War but blew-up on passage from Chatham in March 1665.

The Register accounts for 47 sites that have seen military battle, three of which are at risk after grants helped to remove the Battle of Braddock Down from the list.

HMS Invincible (18th century)
HMS Invincible has been removed from the Register.

Pressure of development of cultivation poses a threat to these spots, while uncontrolled metal detecting displaces and removes battleground artifacts that can tell the stories of certain conflicts.

The Historic England website claims "several battlefields remain vulnerable to becoming at risk and being added to the Register if positive action is not taken".

The Battle of Adwalton Moor site in Leeds saw 14,000 men fight in during the English Civil War, while The Battle of Newburn Ford (1640) saw the Scottish Army claim defeat the English during the Second Bishops’ War.

Both sites are at risk, alongside the Battle of Boroughbridge land in Harrowgate, which hosted 1322 revolt against Edward II.

Added to the at-risk Register this year is a military complex built during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Former Weedon Barracks, Magazine Enclosure in Northamptonshire was constructed as a major depot for arms and ammunition during the era and includes several at-risk buildings.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: "The message is clear - our heritage needs to be saved and investing in heritage pays.

"It helps to transform the places where we live and work, and which we visit, creating successful and distinctive places for us and for future generations to enjoy."