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Proving misleading info
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Proving misleading info
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Critique of EH assess
Beck true origins
A site visit
Evidence ignored
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Response to the evidence submitted to English Heritage in response to their Consultation over the designation of the battle of Fulford

On Friday 20th September 2013. The 947th anniversary of the battle of Fulford[1], I toured the locations listed in the document supplied by Paula Ware, the archaeologist working on behalf of Persimmon who are the applicant proposing to build 700+ homes and an access road along Germany Beck.

I visited the sites listed on page 6 & 7 of her submission which are also noted on the map of the ‘Fulford’ landscape (attached on p3) in the Consultation Response, Germany Beck dated June 2012.

I found that, with the single exception of Germany Beck, the sites listed all fail as possible locations for a battle:

1.       None of the ditches, streams and dykes listed represented a significant military obstacle.

2.       None of the locations provided two secure flanks, most had no flank protection at all.

3.       Half of the ditches were dry on the day of my visit, even though some are in the tidal section of the Ouse which was at a peak high tide at the time of the inspection.

4.       Most of the locations are well outside the area which is recognised as the ancient parish or village boundary of Fulford[2].

5.       Many of the sites listed are clearly man-made as indicated by their name ‘dyke’ and no evidence for the date of their construction is provided. These dykes were the means of draining a marsh or mire and the battle did not take place in a marsh.

In short, these locations utterly fail a feasibility test.  With the exception of Germany Beck, none of these sites could have been the location of a battle.

·         It was wrong of EH to distribute this without offering me a chance to make the serious defects known.

·         It was wrong of EH not to have provided those to whom this information was shown a chance to visit and assess the viability of the locations suggested.

·         It was wrong of EH to quote the uncertainties raised by Paula Ware for the opponents to designation without ever citing the counter arguments for landscape and literature published in Finding Fulford and to ignore the additional clarifications that I supplied in my evidence.


In addition to these criticisms, a critical observation on the notes related to the literature has already been submitted. At no point has Paula Ware engaged with the detailed discussion of the many sources that I have published. English Heritage were wrong not to draw attention to the evidence that undermined her submission or to make balanced comments in their advice and designation reports.

Landscape changes

Paula Ware repeats the view that “the entire locale of Fulford has been the subject of wholesaleremodelling since 1066.” We are not concerned with Fulford but with Germany Beck. The latter is the unique glacial drain which cuts through the moraine and she is wrong to continue to purvey this irrelevant information without making it clear that she knows that Germany Beck has been subject to few changes because it floods.  But English Heritage report her view without noting it is irrelevant.


I would not normally be so dismissive of the work of other professionals, but this is so poor that I have finally decided that I will submit this to the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) as a formal complaint about Paula Ware. I will cite this and a number of other misleading assessments that she has submitted[3].

But I feel obliged tosubmit these comments because it is evident that EH hasrepeatedly taken this misleading information into account.

·         In February 2012, the Battlefields Panel recommended designating the site in spite of English Heritage asking them not to do so because of the planning situation.

·         From contacts between English Heritage and the City of York planners, we know that in June 2012 the expectation was that this was still the EH position and they were still going to designate the site.

·         Since the decision was reversed at some time before the decision was published in November 2012, and because the advice report cites uncertainty about the literature, landscape changes and alternative locations as the reasons, EH was wrong not to have addressed the issues in the critical way that I have highlighted above.

·         The developer’s agents not only held at least one meeting with the English Heritage Designation Officer but provided at least two sets of information during this time[4]. This follows the pattern in February/April 2005 where English Heritage cooperated with Paula Ware and the developer’s agents  and asked them to provide a submission that they could quote when the former reversed their opposition to the planning application.

·         It is quite wrong that EH should rely on the misleading statement of Paula Ware for the designation just as they did in 2005 when the planning application was under consideration. English Heritage should have provided a critical appraisal, or published this misleading information for timely comment before accepting what was reported. Instead they make many references to possible alternative sites, extensive changes to the landscape and doubts about the literature in both their working papers and reports. This was not a balanced process. They have simply cited the false information provided on behalf of the developers and ignored the testable evidence that I have provided.

English Heritage has also failed to identify the people and the documents provided to those who made the original decision not to designate, sometime before February 2012, and then over-ruled the recommendation of the Battlefields Panel sometime after mid-July 2012. Whoever made the key decisions have accepted the information submitted by Paula Ware, on behalf of the developers, uncritically. They were wrong to do so.


Chas Jones

September 2013



[1] According to the Julian calendar

[2] Fulford had several names historically and the Victorian ‘doomsday’ survey illustrates this

[3] Within the papers submitted to the Court are 2 that relate to correspondence with the IFA about complaining about professional standards, the first in 2005

[4] The submissions are not all dated so there might have been more than the two noted.

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

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