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Deception plan
 Recording the events of September 1066
tanged arrow from Fulford
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The Fulford Tapestry Website

Misinformed review
Deception plan
Persimmons defence
Proving misleading info
Misleading court
EH chief exec
Critique of EH assess
Beck true origins
A site visit
Evidence ignored
Undue process

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The Fulford Tapestry


Visiting Fulford

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This document outlines the sequence of events that led to the revision and subsequent adoption of the Historic Landscape Assessment (HLA) in 2005 whose purpose was to show that Germany Beck was not the location of the Battle of Fulford. It explains how false information was fed into the planning process.


During 2013 I gradually uncovered how information that was known to be false came to be accepted as the basis for denying that Germany Beck as the location of the 1066 battle of Fulford. This brings together three earlier documents entitled ‘The deception Plan’, ‘The untenable position of English Heritage’ and ‘Role of English Heritage in making changes to a developer’s document’ into a single document. These documents are part of the ‘Court Bundle’ provided to the High Court in connection with my case. I will seek to add this document to the Court papers. (Case ref CO/1932/2013)

This document reflects my understanding of how, by whom and when such false information was introduced into the planning system. The original documents were sent to the relevant parties. The contents have been ignored by them and the chief executives for who they work. Instead I am reassured that the proper planning process has been followed. ‘Process’ is undermined if those responsible distort the facts. This is about the way process has transformed lies into truth.

The probable existence of a heritage asset of international importance on the site of the proposed development was recognised when the development was first proposed. The developers and local planning authority were told this by English Heritage who, until the events outlined below, opposed the application. The purpose of this document is to detail how false information was introduced which has advised all the subsequent decisions. This shows how to turn falsehood into planning fact.

I have added two post-scripts. The first reveals how all the public bodies held information that corroborated the existence of the hearth debris. The second is a further attempt to justify the false information. However, falsehoods cannot be made true by repetition and embellishment. These post-scripts emphasise just how badly served the planning system has been with accurate information by the archaeologist who are supposed to serve the public. Paragraph 21 explains how the same people are now poised to bury and destroy the evidence for the battle in what is in its most literal sense, a cover up.


The relevance of what follows is that a flawed and misleading HLA document provided the justification for all of the decisions that have followed regarding the location of the battlesite of Fulford. The planners and English Heritage have been asked to respond and explain their actions. However, the questions remain unaddressed and none of the supervisory bodies, such as the elected councillors, have asked them to justify what they have done. So the unanswered questions are repeated:

1.       Why was the unambiguous, testable evidence that contradicts the key HLA conclusion about the origin of Germany Beck not addressed by the decisions takers? How can the planning process be perverted by a simple deception?

2.       Why have the planners ignored mistakes that were revealed during public consultation? Why has contradictory information been totally ignored?

3.       English Heritage needs to explain their apparent co-operation with the developers in helping them provide a case that would pass scrutiny. In December 2013 the help is acknowledged claiming EH helped make ‘more rigorous referencing’ of a one-sided document.[1]

4.       English Heritage also need to explain why they have taken no action since they have subsequently recognised that the HLA conclusion was wrong (see para 12). If EH recognises that they were wrong to change their mind in 2005, why did they not revise it when they were consulted in 2012 as statutory consultees on the reserved matters and extension of time applications?

5.       English Heritage and the local planners need to justify their inactions. Why did they not require relevant archaeological work to be undertaken to identify the battlesite before the planning application was first considered? They failed to recognise the work of the battlefield research that had recovered physical evidence that looked very much like battlefield debris.

6.       Why was the geophysical plot covering one of the reported recycling hearth areas not drawn to my attention and its correlation with the data published in Finding Fulford not noted? Both EH and the planners consented from mid 2004 not to require more work and neither have explained their inactions.

7.       Why did no official or elected representative take advantage of my open offer to visit the site? It should be noted that English Heritage records their ignorance of the site although their office is within walking distance of the site. During the two site visits by the planning committee, which avoided the battlesite,I was told that I could not talk about the battle.

8.       How should the role of professional advisors be defined to ensure that they provide accurate information in the future? Is there a vital role for independent assessments when the judgments of a few individuals is questioned?

9.       Why have the same public officials agreed to repeat all this wrong information and approve a scheme of work that will cover-up and destroy the published evidence for the battlefield?

The point must be made that these are not a matter of some fine, professional judgements or weighing some marginal information: Incorrect and misleading information has been introduced into the planning process in a manner that appears, from the meeting notes that I was given, to have been deliberate.

The wrong information has been challenged many times but official responses always address the way a proper process has been followed. The false information has nevertheless underpinned a series of decisions because it allowed doubt to be cast on the existence of Germany Beck at the time of the battle. However, geology tells us that the beck was carved as the last ice sheet retreated north about 13,000 BCE.The carbon dating proves that Germany Beck was in its present course at the time of the battle.

Unambiguous evidence was presented in a timely manner at each stage of the planning process to contradict the claims and assessment in the HLA. Nevertheless, this flawed report has been used to persuade the planners, the inspector at the public inquiry and English Heritage’s designation decision makers that there is a reason to doubt the location of the battle of Fulford. There isn’t.

(A critique of some conclusions set out in the HLA, is mentioned in this text. A full version, along with my commentary, was provided at the end of the document ‘The deception plan’ (Jan 2013) but is omitted here since it would be repetitious.)

Chas Jones          30 February 2014

Timetable of The Deception Plan  (All words in double quotes are from the transcribed notes).

1.       On 16th March 2004 MAP, the archaeological contractors for the developer, faxed a two page letter to the City of York Council (COYC) planners (letter dated 15/3/2004 but there is no reference).  It says “As you can imagine we are a little surprised to find English Heritage (EH) are making an issue of the Battle of Fulford with regard to the development of the site.” The letter goes to note that its work should be judged as a historic landscape appraisal and not a battlefield assessment.

It is an assertive letter, signed by all of the principles of MAP telling the planners that they “have taken the matter up with English Heritage..”


2.       On 24th March 2004 EH responded following the meeting demanded by MAP.EH write that they have reviewed their files and are happy that their existing advice not to approve the planning application “is appropriate and justified.” (EH ref HB6014/729/0014 signed by John Hinchcliffe)

The letter to the developers’ goes on to explain that the planning authority should not determine the application because of the uncertainty about the battlesite“ ..an uncertainty we feel could have been reduced had different techniques been utilised for the assessment of the area. As we discussed, at the root of the issue therefore lies the specification for the work hitherto undertaken.”

The previous month, the Fulford Battlefield Society had been told that we could not carry out a programme of investigative work on the site to follow up the finding of the metal-working debris by York Archaeological Trust(YAT), who were the main contractors for the Lottery-funded project to locate the battlefield.[2]

Regrettably, the City’s archaeologist, John Oxley, did not address the specification of the archaeological work that was criticised by English Heritage. Over the following years he has declined requests to either allow, or require, relevant work to be undertaken along the line of the battle that had emerged to confirm that Germany Beck was the likely place of the battle.

3.       On 29th April 2004, the City’s archaeologist ignored the advice from EH for different techniques and instead suggested allowing the development with various mitigations, including “… the implementation of an interpretative trail detailing the possible course of the Battle of Fulford..”[3] The plans presented to the planners in late 2004 did indeed have ‘The Fulford Battlefield Walk’ alongside the beck[4].


4.       On 6 May 2004, Dr Paul Stamper who was the Battlefields Panel Co-ordinator for English Heritage at that time, wrote to City of York Council that “..while the available evidence is insufficient to allow the inclusion of the site on the Register of Battlefields, your authority may still be minded to conclude that on the balance of probability it has a significance as the most likely site of this important event.”


5.       During 2004 the findings from the parallel studies of the landscape, the literature, an assessment of environmental evidence and the tidal predictions for the time of the battle were announced. The physical finds from three years’ work were sent to York Archaeological Trust (YAT) for expert examination[5] where two of the country’s leading experts in medieval metalwork identified significant quantities of metal working debris along Germany Beck.

·         A double blind trial on the ferrous items that we had not sent for examination, eventually revealed 40 more pieces of metal-working debris and these came from very small areas where other metal working debris had been identified by the experts. Not a single hearth-related item has been identified from the surrounding area that hadbeen systematically searched during the battlefield project.[6]

·         The items were taken to Oxford University where two experts examined some samples from the collection confirming they were old metal working debris. (Jan 2005)

·         The hearth debris followed precisely the location and action of the battle already suggested by the landscape archaeology and the literature.


6.       On 24th November 2004 John Oxley, the COYC archaeologist, gave a scheduled talk to the Fulford Battlefield Society and revealed, under questioning from the audience, that it had been decided that no legitimate evidence to demonstrate the existence of the site had been found so he would not oppose the development. I expressed my surprise to John privately not least because this had not been formally communicated since we had been attempting through him to obtain permission to pursue our evidential work. It would be another five years before the City’s archaeologist actually visited the site with me and six years before he first saw any of the finds from the hearth areas when they were set out for examination using XRF.


7.       On 18th February 2005 Mike Slater and John Oxley both from COYC, and Keith Emerick from English Heritage plus an unnamed colleague met to discuss the battlefield.

·         The notes say “Since March 2004 – Charles Jones work in vicinity – metal objects recovered but few of 11c date & not sure where from in locality (CJ not given info).”[7]  Both these claims which are attributed to John Oxley are misleading or wrong.

·         “CJ asked for access to site for metal detection work but Persimmons refused.”

·         EH representative noted that the existing Landscape Appraisal had been questioned.[8]

·         The City’s archaeologist however “considered [it a] reasonable document [which] reviews evidence” and sets out reasons why he believes an “11c battle not something can map on landscape.”

·         But EH note that the “technique used to detect (are) different from ..battle.” And the meeting notes end with the question “What arch(aelogical) info would be sufficient to provide assessment?”

The city planning officers appear to be trying to persuade English Heritage that enough work has been done and that a general appraisal of the landscape, rather than a study focused on battlefield archaeology that English Heritage thought was necessary, would suffice.

8.       On 17th March 2005 a second meeting took place. This one included those from the 18 Feb meeting plus Michael Courcier, Paula Ware (MAP) and Peter Morris, all representing Persimmon.

According to the meeting notes:

·         Paula Ware, the presumed author of the HLA, noted that the “Revised report [HLA] had no new info, but XXXXXX rewording.”The original word is strongly redacted by the note-taker.

·         Paula Ware drew attention to mention of a ‘New Dyke’ in 15C (1454) between Abbey Crofts & DamlandField  belonged to Abbey.  Paula Ware also reported in the HLA: “The profile of Germany Beck, a drainage feature that was created in the 15th century, has been altered by dredging throughout the 20th century.”

·         There is no evidence that the ‘New Dyke’ is Germany Beck. The facts make such an association impossible:

o    Germany Beck is a geological feature carved when the last ice sheet retreated as the developer’s engineers had already demonstrated.

o   The C14 dates from the peat within the beck confirm its location pre-dates the 11th century battle.

o   The desktop study by the developers suggested an 11th century date for long stretches of Germany Beck. This was based on their study of the hedges. This work was re-tested confirming the antiquity of the line of the beck.

·         Paula Ware talks about 20th century dredging altering the profile: But she knows that detailed shaping of the beck has been studied and that there are no changes to the route and alterations to the profile are trivial. The beck we see today would be recognised by a visitor from 11th century.  The later land drains and ditches are irrelevant to existence and identification of Germany Beck and any good archaeologist would have known this.

·         There is no basis whatever for assuming that the 1454 charter evidence refers to Germany Beck. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that it refers to one of many drainage ditches connected to the beck. The beck is the natural conduit to which new ditches were connected in subsequent centuries.

But somehow this utterly false assertion has been relied to claim that there is some doubt about not only the course of Germany Beck but its very existence at the time of the battle. This is not a matter of interpretation or expert judgement – Germany Beck followed its present course, and had a very similar shape at the time of the battle.

·         Going back to the meeting notes, pressure was now applied to the English Heritage representatives to drop their objection:

o   Michael Courcier told EH they would have to justify their opposition using PPG15 if the application is called in for a public inquiry.

§  PPG15 is relevant to landscapes but states that it must be used with PPG16 that covered the investigation of archaeology. The other professionals there who should have been representing the public interest do not appear to have resisted the insistence by the developer’s agent that the battlefield was just a piece of landscape and indeed agreed to accept the battlefield walk along the beck as satisfying PPG15. The public officials failed to address the requirements for archaeological investigations required by other planning guidance.

§  Furthermore PPG15, which was the guiding text at the time, is very clear that battlefield should be avoided.

“5.5 If a new route is unavoidable, authorities should initially identify any features of the historic environment - including parks, gardens, battlefields and archaeological sites as well as buildings and areas - and evaluate their importance. Wherever possible, new roads (and any other transport infrastructure) should be kept away from listed buildings, conservation areas and other historic sites.”

The chosen route is clearly avoidable. The initial proposal had access roads to the north. But these crossed the old administrative boundary between Selby DC and the York authority. The present proposal to have an access road along the battlefield was the second choice. If PPG15 is to act as a guide then the first choice route should be reexamined.

o   It was suggested also that EH had not put enough weight on the fact that there was not enough evidence to put the site on the Register.

§  It was repeatedly pointed out that the Battlefield Register was effectively closed at the time as work progressed towards a piece of new primary legislation. But this ‘non-registration’ has been repeatedly deployed by the applicants even though the proper test at the time was very much lower and the NPPF specifically includes non-designated heritage assets as an important consideration. Furthermore, EH had clearly stated that they believed Germany Beck to be the location of the battle – see para 4 above.

o   Michael Courcier returns to this point later in the meeting – “whether material consideration. PPG15- weight to battle sites if on register + not sufficient weight to put on register.” (see above about the false insistence on PPG15)

o   Paula Ware told EH that they needed archaeological proof:

§  This is not true – the burden is on those who want to destroy any landscape. As noted by EH in para 2 above, EH was critical of the relevance of the archaeological specification which is why they withheld their approval.

o   Paula Ware is noted as saying she was not disputing that the battle of Fulford took place, but she claimed it cannot be proved to be in this area.

§  There is the well-known maxim that absence of proof is not proof of absence. When she made this statement she already knew about the hearth debris that had been recovered beside Germany Beck but has failed to acknowledge or investigate this. (See post-script which shows she also had geophysical work that matched the location of the hearth debris.)

o   She suggesting it could be within 2 mile radius and “Have suggested other sites in area with ‘landscape’”. However, no details, evidence or analysis for these supposed alternative sites was proposed. This is inconsistent for somebody arguing the need for ‘proof’.

§  Chapter 6 in Finding Fulford was devoted to assessing all of the alternative sites that had been identified during a study of the secondary literature. Claiming that there could be other sites is of little relevance when the issue is about doing the necessary archaeology to test if Germany Beck was the site of the battle.

§  However, Paula Ware, in one of her submissions during 2011 or 2012 to the designation consultation, actually listed some alternatives. I obtained this information under FOI. On 20th September 2013 I visited all the suggested alternative sites. None of the sites was feasible. Only one was actually in the area recognised as Fulford: Several were dry: Only two had a river flank as described in the literature and none had a concealed place where King Harald could launch his outflanking move.  A document was submitted to EH about these so-called alternative sites.

o   Michael Courcier said he needed EH’s view quickly and the meeting notes suggest that he again claimed that their view must be framed within the context of PPG15. The notes say he went on to claim that “From all their work – no substantial evidence”.

§  Courcier again assert that PPG15 is the only relevant guidance since he claims there is no archaeology.

§  He was probably referring to the work of the Fulford Battlefield Society where YAT experts had identified the collections of hearth debris along the line of Germany Beck. So his statement is wrong. There is archaeological evidence and so PPG15, and the HLA that the developers produced, should not be the focus.

§  The concept of ‘substantial evidence’ is also unclear. The obligation of the developer is to investigate the evidence presented. Instead they were allowed to deny access that would have the hearth finds evidence to be investigated which allowed them to make PPG15 the focus.

·         When Keith Emerick for English Heritage suggested “sufficient work hadn’t been done to establish whether BofF took place here”, Paula Ware retorted that none of their metal finds could be dated to the battle.

o   This comment failed to note that the area had not been subject to a metal detecting survey. Without such as survey Paula Ware’s is utterly misleading because they had no metal survey and she knows that dating iron can only come from its context and she was party to denying access to get the necessary dating evidence from the hearth sites.

·         Keith Emerick wanted “more authoritative comment on how look at Battlefield of that period.  – (arrow) What should look for & how find therefore (symbol) show not there”. To this Paula Wear said they had followed the EH guideline.

o   Paula Ware’s comment defies the known facts since in April 2004 EH had said that their opposition to the development was due to the techniques “utilised for the assessment of the area”. (See para 2 above) 

o   I worked very closely with English Heritage when developing this project, I know that there were no guideline for identifying battlesites and the techniques are still being developed in an academic debate to which I have made several contributions.

o   It is misleading of Paula Ware to make any claim that they had done work that was relevant to finding evidence from an ephemeral event like a battle. The opposite is the case: They had resisted and opposed undertaking relevant work. A sensible assessment of their opposition would ask what they were hoping to hide.

·         John Oxley suggested:

o   Therefore retain ‘13C story’ in dev. with mitigation measures suggested”

§  This suggests that the story about Germany Beck being a man-made ditch that dates for a time after the battle had been previously discussed as the word ‘retain’ can only mean that this is what they had already discussed and agreed.

o   He went on to note that “not a great deal written about battles of this time”, and he also acknowledges that  “the bulk of investigation strategy aimed at Romano-British finds”:

§  Both of these statements are true. Finding battlefields was innovative work and the scheme for the investigation was fine for looking for long-term occupation such as Roman villas but utterly irrelevant to looking for a battle.

§  The initial study by the developers had noted that the battle of Fulford probably took place on the proposed development site. But no relevant work was incorporated into the archaeological investigation and offers of advice and to undertake the necessary work were blocked.

§  The admission that the original work from 1997/9 had not been looking for evidence of a battle, but was focused on conventional archaeology, should have promoted John Oxley to support calls for additional, relevant work especially after the criticism by EH (see para 2) and the revelation of the hearth evidence (see para 5).

o   He claimed it was “highly unlikely we would recover any evidence”. This meant he was ignoring the material he had been told about relating to possible metal recycling sites. By not insisting that the recycling hearth debris was investigated, he has ensured that his statement that recovery of evidence was unlikely remained true. John Oxley failed to follow the evidence that was presented and by his inactions actively prevented the recovery and dating of evidence.

o   John Oxley also claims that numerous developments had eroded the ‘Cultural landscape’. This claim is open to serious challenge by taking a walk around the battlesite but he goes on to ask rhetorically “Would harm be such of additional dev to cause refusal?”

§  It is inexplicable that he should consider that constructing an access road along the ditch where the interpretation presented made it probable that the two shield walls faced each other would not qualify as landscape harm that should cause refusal.

§  If there is any doubt about this then the words of English Heritage during the designation process where they state that while recognising Germany Beck as the probable location, once the access road has been constructed, the site would not qualify for designation, put the matter beyond any doubt.

§  So John Oxley is wrong – the development will cause harm to the battlefield by burying it: So he should have refused it.   

o   But he still notes that they “ will not have ‘fireproof’ case.”

§  This presumably implies that this was their aim: They were not seeking the truth but to make a case to allow them to approve the planning application. The City’s archaeological advisor is not addressing the existing evidence given to him. He has failed to require relevant investigation to be undertaken even though the inadequacy of the work done had been documented. Instead he is willing to be party to a ‘story’ that links the failure to do relevant archaeology and the fabrication about later origin of the beck arguing that will not harm the battlefield landscape.

·         As the meeting draws to a close, Keith Emerick for English Heritage says he “Needs to state – didn’t take place here” and goes on to suggest that the “best approach to use historic identity within [development]” because the “site has potential to engage people in history of area” which could be set out as a public gain.

o   It is scarcely credible that the EH representative who originally opposed the development on archaeological grounds is now demanding that the developers make the unambiguous claim that the battle did not take place along Germany Beck.

o   The necessary wording is indeed in the report sent to me three weeks later.

o   And the Battlefield Walk does indeed appear on the next plans submitted! 

o   I was shocked to discover the complicity of EH in modifying the HLA when I visited their archive in June 2013. English Heritage officers assisted the developers in reinforcing their claim that the battlefield could not have taken place along Germany Beck. This is detailed below.


9.       On 24th March 2005, Keith Emerick of English Heritage accepts the suggestion that Germany Beck was a 15th century drainage ditch and accepts the assertions that no evidence will be forthcoming (because no more work will be allowed or undertaken). So he withdraws the objection provided that there are various mitigations. He writes:

The revisions to the Historic Landscape Appraisal indicates that Germany Beck may well have been created in the medieval period, or was a major reworking of that feature in the medieval period...”

10.   Not until 8th April 2004, and after all of the modifications suggested by English Heritage had been incorporated, was I sent a copy of the revised Historic Landscape Assessment.(COYC ref 01/01315/OUT) for ‘consultation’. I was told I must respond with any comments by 22nd April, which I did. I pointed out in my response that this as a worse fabrication than the previous report.

·         It is wrong that I should not have been given sight of the revised HLA until all of the decisions had been taken. Failing to send me the documents before the decisive meetings was unfair. The very critical comments provided by myself and by the Battlefields Trust, have been ignored. They were not reported to the elected officials and the substantive comments have not been reflected in advice provided by either John Oxley or Keith Emerick.

·         English Heritage failed to address the criticisms of the HLA even when it was drawn to their attention in connection with the reserved matters and extension of time applications in 2013.

11.   When notes of meetings, transcribed above, were given to me in November 2012, I contacted EH to ask them to revert to their position of 2004 since the meeting notes revealed that pressure was being applied to EH. I also noted that they were provided with a document (the revised Historic Landscape Appraisal- HLA) that presented conclusions they knew were wrong.  At this stage I was not aware that they had been engaged with the developers to make the document acceptable to them as I detail below (para 17). So the following exchanges took place when I believed that EH were impartial in this matter and were not actively helping the developers.


12.   Trevor Mitchell replied for EH on 31 January 2013 accepting that Germany Beck was a natural and not a man-made feature.

“It is the case that the Council did press us for prompt advice, which was not unreasonable of them. But I am satisfied that they did not pressure us to come to a particular view. We noted John Oxley’s views but did not rely upon them in coming to our own position. Notwithstanding the contents of the revised Historic Landscape Assessment, our position on the application was reached using our professional judgement, which included our acceptance that Germany Beck was most likely to be a natural feature pre-dating the battle, but which may have been altered in later centuries.

 “Thank you for bringing these matters to our attention. It is right that they should be reviewed. However, I am satisfied that we were not deliberately misled, duped or put under unreasonable pressure to adopt a particular position. I am sorry that you do not agree with the burden of the final advice that we gave in response to the application, but see no reason to revise our position.”

13.   I replied the same day to EH saying:

‘The contention that it "may have been altered in later centuries" is exactly what the revised HLA 2005 claimed …. But I am pleased that you dismiss the HLAs conclusion that Germany Beck is a man-made feature.
But this leaves me perplexed - The geology does not allow much alteration and anybody can see that there is very little modern building close to the site.
So what are these alterations, which you and the writer of the designation report, claim make the firm location of the battle 'ambiguous'?
I think I am correct in believing that it is EH's view that Germany Beck is the likely location for the battle so why is this view not being firmly expressed to the City of York planners?’

14.   Trevor Mitchell quickly replied saying:

“I am sorry but I cannot answer your question about the alterations as I have no first-hand knowledge of the site. However, on the face of it does seem reasonable to allow that a stream may have changed over a one-thousand year period.

 “I am confident that the Council is aware of our position on the likely location of the battle. We are not currently advising the Council on any planning or other matters relating to the site.”

·         When EH were asked to provide advice on the extension of time and reserved matters later in 2013 they failed to note that it was EHs view that Germany beck was the likely location of the battle of Fulford. They also failed to note that they doubted the view expressed in the HLA about the beck being man made even though they cite this as the key reason for withdrawing their objection.

·         It is not easy to understand how they saw no reason to revise their view for the planning committee when they no longer accepted the key part of the evidence while claiming ignorance of the landscape that is just a short distance from their office.


15.   The position of English Heritage is untenable: English Heritage officers changed their advice in 2005 when they were given wrong information. They now claim they were not influenced by this revised HLA.

·         They might now claim that they formed their own ‘professional’ view about the Historic Landscape Appraisal, but in reversing their opposition they accept its key point, writing “that Germany Beck may well have been created in the medieval period, or was a major reworking of that feature in the medieval period”. They cannot now claim that the false information did not influence them. They withdrew their objection citing the wrong information as their reason.

·         Their response of 24 March 2005 (point 11 above) appears to show that they accepted what they were told in the HLA in good faith. However, they now acknowledged that they were being misled and were complicit in making the HLA acceptable to them, as they had required towards the end of the 17th March 2005 meeting (page 7 above).

·         Even though they now accept they are wrong on one key point why are they unwilling to check the accuracy of the HLA’s other claims including the one about an altered landscape?

·         There is no evidence that York Council is aware that EH know that “Germany Beck is the likely location of the battle” because none of the EH replies, as a statutory consultee in this planning matter, has conveyed this piece of information. At the planning meeting for the reserved matters John Oxley was able to tell the elected members that no such clear statement about the location existed (and he refused to withdraw or correct this statement when I asked him to do during a break during the planning meeting. I took this up with the chair whose view was that history is littered with mistakes!)

·         The statement that EH are “not currently advising the Council on any planning or other matters relating to the site” is disingenuous. When they wrote this in January 2013 they should have been well aware that two planning applications related to Germany Beck were awaiting consideration by the City Planners. When these matters were considered in the summer the planners were still being advised that the revised HLA was a valid basis for making their judgements.


16.   On May 28 2013, I was given access to the archive boxes for the Germany Beck development at English Heritage HQ in Swindon. I was surprised to discover several versions of the developer’s Heritage Landscape Appraisal (HLA) among their files. These documents are not dated and do not have version numbers but I was able to deduce the sequence of events based on their order in the file where they were connected by treasury tags to keep them in sequence.


17.   I prepared a document entitled the Role of English Heritage in making changes to a developer’s document where is set out the evidence to suggest that officers within English Heritage had provided advice to the developers to provide a document that would be acceptable to EH. Keith Emerick for English Heritage is noted as saying he wanted “more authoritative comment on how look at Battlefield of that period.  – (arrow) What should look for & how find therefore (symbol) show not there” towards the end of the meeting on 17 March 2005.


18.   The evidence I have supplied in my Court Papers contain a number of contemporary notes and  the photocopies I made while at EH HQ but are not attached here. The four pages that were copied as examples of the cooperation and the original copies have been filed as evidence. The commentary below refers to these as pages 1 to 4.

·         Page 1 notes “June Shepherd’s work” beside paragraph 5.2.2. Page 2 then inserts a quote from ‘Sheppard 1966 p.15’ beside para 5.2.14 of the subsequent version of the HLA.Page 3 has the original version of para 5.2.14.

·         The text of the new quote that was inserted suggests that most ditches and drains were cut after the 11th century, the time of the battle of Fulford. The insertion of this reference could be used in support the agreed ‘story’ was that Germany Beck was a man-made drain rather than the glacial ditch that we know it to be.

·         On page 4, the old version had asterisks beside para 8.3.8 while the new version has added two quotations and references to English Heritage work. The relevance of these references are not clear except that the out-of-date imply that battlefield research could not yet be classed as properly planned archaeology. This is of course not true as English Heritage had been involved in the design of the Fulford methodology.

·         It is ironic that English Heritage did not take note of the sample excavations that were advocated in this quotation because neither the local planning authority nor English Heritage would use their authority to force the developers to either undertake the work or to allow me to do so.


19.   It is not necessarily wrong for English Heritage to advise the developers how to improve their reports. But they did not do so for many other reports from the developers – Indeed their internal comments on various archaeological reports supplied by the developer makes it clear that they were highly critical (e.g. comments on the in-line ponds – appended to another critical letter from EH about the archaeological work dated 5 March 2004). Why were such critical comments not communicated formally to the local planners? This is inconsistent with the way they cooperated in embellishing a report that they knew then, and recognise now, drew false conclusions and had only one purpose which was to undermine the evidence produced for locating the battle along Germany Beck. Claiming that Germany Beck was either not built or was somewhere else might be seen as a desperate gamble since any good archaeologist would know it was wrong.


Advice from English Heritage should be open, as well as balanced. But no copies of these early documents were sent out for consultation and all the references EH provided serve to make locating the battlesite appear uncertain. The amended version was only distributed to interested parties after EH had written and agreed to reverse their opposition to the planning application. The unsupportable conclusions pass unchallenged. Furthermore, the advice to the developers does not reflect their earlier criticisms or make any reference to the information produced by the Fulford Battlefield Project, or the many critical comments supplied by the Battlefields Trust.


In the context of the contemporary notes of joint meetings between EH the LPA and the developer’s agents on 17th March 2005, the assistance provided does not appear to be open and balanced and gravely damaged the interest of the battlefield since the modified HLA was cited as the reason for the change of mind by English Heritage. (Emerick25thMarch 2005)


20.   There are two post-scripts to this document which exposes the errors in the HLA and the failures of the officers responsible for investigating and protecting our heritage. During the same visit to the EH archives, reported in para 16, a previously unseen geophysics plot was seen. The ferrous finds from the surface which have been identified as evidence of metal-working have been plotted onto the chart and they matched perfectly. This was the area where permission to investigate the post-battle, weapon recycling material was refused. The geophysics plot is pasted below.


21.   In December 2013 I was sent a copy of the Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) that is supposed to cover the necessary archaeological work. Despite repeated assurances that a full and proper investigation would be undertaken prior to the development work starting, it is clear that this is not going to happen. My first assumption was that this was an early draft from the developer, designed by them to cover-up past omissions in the archaeological work. It turns out that this document has been discussed between the city planners and English Heritage and, de facto, agreed.  I had been assured that I would be consulted during the process of preparing the WSI. This is my introduction to the draft reply to the WSI:


“Throughout the Germany Beck planning process I have been reassured that a full investigation of the archaeology related to the battle of Fulford would be undertaken. However, the WSI pre-judges the matter of the battlefield by stating repeatedly that there is ‘no evidence’ for the battle and so subsequently ignores any battle-related archaeology in the scheme of work that is proposed.

“The report repeats baseless speculations which have been refuted on many occasions as if they are fact. This is not only dishonest but fallacious because the WSI repeats the fallacy that has been so successfully promoted by the developers that their failure to find any proof for the battle, is proof that the battle is absent. The absence of evidence cited in the WSI is dishonest because it ignores all the evidence for battle recycling sites that has been presented and whose further investigation the developers have blocked.

“These claims are so obviously, and grotesquely, wrong that it is shameful to discover that the document has, according to John Oxley the city’s archaeological officer, passed scrutiny from Keith Emerick, the planning officer for English Heritage. I have yet to hear from either of these public officials why they agreed in March 2005 to the fabrications that Germany Beck might not have been in its present form or location in 1066. Therefore it is imperative that the WSI is subject to some independent evaluation.

“The starting point for the WSI should have been the comment in the letter from English Heritage in March 2004 stating that the specification of the archaeology was “inadequate”  for the purpose of identifying whether the battle took place along Germany Beck.  Why was the recognised inadequacy not addressed before planning permission was granted? And why is it not being given priority now? This WSI is the final attempt to ‘bury’ what we all recognise is a heritage site of international importance. The WSI tries to cover-up the deficiencies of previous work and is notable for promoting a remarkable number of red-herrings to try and support the false information that was fed into the planning process. A critical reading of this WSI is required.”

Text Box: These LIDAR maps show the 1066 line of Germany Beck, linking to the river Ouse and the initial line of the opposing shieldwalls. In the bottom left corner the location of King Harald Hardrada is noted. The literature tells how he launched his outflanking attack across the beck when the exceptional tides on the day of the battle retreated.
The image below shows Germany Beck as the single breach in the moraine with the ring road, cemetery, park & ride and golf course, and the battle at the centre of the image.The false claims discussed above about the origin of Germany Beck are exposed by this image. A network of drainage ditches have indeed been cut over the centuries to join the main course of the beck. But the ditch where the battle took place was carved when trapped meltwater burst through the moraine and carved the ditch about 13,000 BCE and has not altered its course in subsequent centuries.


Text Box: The geophysics plot mentioned in para 20 shows that several collections of hearth debris found during the Lottery-funded research match what is revealed on this previously unseen document. It also points to more sites where we very strongly believe that metal was recycled after the battle. 
The battle at Stamford Bridge, just 5 days later, could explain why so much material was found as the high tides at the time would have quickly buried the metal working activity on this flood plain.















[1] Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) December 2013para4.5.22


[3]This document was not provided until the papers were made available for the Public Inquiry in 2006.

[4]The name ‘Battlefield Walk’ was changed when I pointed out the inconsistency of their positions and now appears as the archaeological zone, or something similar.

[5] Dr Peter Addyman and Dr Patrick Ottaway

[6] Details can be found in Finding Fulford page 148

[7] The location of the two hearth areas were given to the City Archaeologist and this was evidently disclosed to Persimmon since they soon designated the main hearth area as a community wood. John Oxley told me that no archaeological work could be required on land was going to become a wood.

[8] Dr Glenn Foard had prepared a very critical report on the work undertaken which was submitted on 10th February 2004 .http://www.savefulford.org/c_peer_review.htm

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The author of the content is Charles Jones - fulfordthing@gmail.com   Last updated April 2015

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