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CONSULTATION on Scotland's Battlefields 'Inventory' Begins ... read on ...

Celebrating Scotland's Battlefields

Scottish Ministers announced in Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) 2009 that Historic Scotland would prepare an Inventory of Historic Battlefields to identify and provide information on our nationally important sites to aid their management into the future.

This Inventory of Historic Battlefields is being delivered in two stages, the first by March 2011, the second by March 2012.

Historic Scotland writes: "We are delighted to announce the launch of our Consultation on the first stage of the Inventory of Historic Battlefields. The consultation opens [today] 13th December 2010 and we would welcome your views by 11 February 2011."

The Consultation documents are:

1. The list of sites proposed for inclusion in the Inventory;

2. Concise reports and boundary maps for the first 17 sites; and

3. A booklet explaining the purpose of the Inventory

You can access these documents, and SHEP 2009, by clicking on the links below.

You can let us know your views in one of the following ways:

e-mail to:

Telephone 0131 668 8716

Write to HS Inspectorate, Inspectorate Admin Team, Room 2.31, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SH


Historic Scotland has tabled with the Consultation their own 'Further Information' - which is attached DIRECTLY HERE


The next formal meeting of the Battle Trustees for 1745 is on January 26th 2011. They will consider their response to the Consultation and get that to Historic Scotland before February 11th as requested. Will any Supporters who have their own comments to make send them directly to Historic Scotland at the above addresses with an email copy to the Trust at please?

P.S. 'Tis good to see that close neighbours Pinkie [1547] and Dunbar II [1650] are both also included in the top 17 Battlefields Historic Scotland has identified!

Background Briefing:

After several years of consultation, Historic Scotland has issued an initial list of 17 of the most important battle sites located around Scotland.

This first phase of the Inventory of Historic Battlefields contains a total of 17 different battlefields across the country in the Borders, East Lothian, North Lanarkshire, Stirling, Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.

The Inventory is designed to help local planning authorities and other public bodies who will have to take the battlefields into account if they make any decisions about the landscape that might affect them. The aim is to manage change within battlefields in a sustainable way, taking their historical and archaeological significance into account, and to realise the positive contributions that battlefields can make to our environment.

From the 13th December until February 11th 2011, everyone in Scotland will have the opportunity to comment on these proposals via the Historic Scotland website, by post or telephone. In addition, people living within the area of the battlefields will receive a leaflet in the next few weeks informing them of the proposals.

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture said: “Many legendary battles took place in Scotland and the famous figures who fought in them, such as Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn and Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden are known around the world.

“Many legendary battles took place in Scotland.

“The Inventory of Historic Battlefields will help increase general awareness of historic battlefields throughout Scotland and the contribution they make to understanding our history and landscape. Battlefields make a distinctive contribution to our sense of place and history, both locally and nationally, helping us to understand why significant events in our history unfolded as they did and provide a tangible link to some of the key figures of Scottish history.”

For a battlefield to be included in the Inventory, it must be considered to be of 'national' importance either for its association with key historical figures or events or for the physical remains and /or archaeological potential it contains or for its landscape context. In addition it must be possible to define the site on a modern map.

Each Inventory Report describes the battlefield and the reasons for its inclusion. This includes a summary of the battle and its historical context, a succinct indication of its importance for each selection factor and an explanation of the area defined by the Inventory map. The selection factors are: historical association; physical remains and archaeological potential, cultural association and landscape context.

The Inventory map indicates the extent of the battlefield, defining the overall area considered to be of interest on the basis of research undertaken. It includes the area where the main battles are thought to have taken place, where associated physical remains and archaeological evidence occur or may be expected, and where additional landscape components, such as strategic viewpoints, may lie.

While the landscape will usually have changed to some extent since the time of the battle, it often retains key characteristics of the terrain at the time, allowing events to be located and aiding understanding and interpretation.

Dr Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University said: “This has been a challenging but incredibly rewarding project and it is gratifying to see these key sites being taken seriously. We have an incredible wealth of battlefields in Scotland and it is vital that we consider them alongside other elements of our cultural heritage. It is important that people engage in this process and demonstrate their own feelings about what can be very fragile landscapes. We may not be able to preserve these sites in aspic but more so than ever, in a restless world which places increasing demands on natural resources and space, they have much to teach us. What is needed is the desire to learn."

Comment from the Battle Trust re the National Inventory

Needless to say the Trust is pleased to note Prestonpans is included! But the Trust remains disappointed that the notion of an 'Inventory' is as far as the government's plans go, with the continual emphasis that it implies no legal constraints just heightened awareness. These concerns were robustly expressed to the First Minister, Culture Minister and Historic Scotland when the earlier Consultation explored whether an Inventory should be created at all.

In respect of Prestonpans, the Trust has from its inception argued and campaigned for interpretation and presentation as well as conservation. And the Trust believes anything less misses a glorious opportunity to advance the better understanding of Scotland's 'historical place'. Just a glance at the way the USA has interpreted and presented its Independence and Civil War battlefields shows how much can be done. As with The Prince however, Hope springs eternal and the Trust is ambitious that beyond this initial but certainly necessary step of creating the National Inventory, far more creative and imaginative national and community-driven policies will emerge. And the sooner the better.

P.S. Historic Scotland Confirms the Initial Inventory Listing: Spring 2011 .. which as expected includes Prestonpans, Pinkie and Dunbar 1650 ...

Published Date: December 13th 2010

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