Battle to preserve Civil War sites

July 14, 1995

Anthony Gross (THES,June 30) is to be congratulated for drawing attention to the attempts of the Battlefields Trust to preserve Tewkesbury. The trust originated largely as a result of the earlier loss of part of Naseby to road extension and, at present, it also has a major appeal to purchase land for a visitor centre at Edgehill.

The recent appearance of the consultative draft of English Heritage's Battlefields Register is to be warmly welcomed as a significant first step towards the preservation, presentation and interpretation of English battlefields although, unfortunately, it makes no attempt to accord priorities for preservation or conservation. Of the 41 listed "battlefields", 16 are already lost to future generations and the register falls short of the achievement of the comparable recommendations of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission in the United States in terms not only of prioritisation, but also in effectively leaving implementation to local authorities.

The trust thus has the task of more fully informing public debate and it is to be hoped that professional historians will take up the challenge as outlined by Anthony Gross to back the trust's efforts. It can be contacted through its co-ordinator, Michael Rayner, at 98 Freedom Road, Walkley, Sheffield S6 2XD.

IAN BECKETT University of Luton

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