English heritage has changed

At the start of April 2015, English Heritage separated into two different bodies. A new charity retaining the name English Heritage now looks after the National Heritage Collection - the stone circles, great castles and abbeys, historic houses and all the other unique sites that were in English Heritage's direct care.

As an independent charity, English Heritage will now be able to grow with greater freedom and to raise more money to conserve and present England's finest historic sites. The new charity will continue to receive resource Grant-in-Aid from the Government on a declining basis until 2022/23 when it will become fully self-funding.

A newly named organisation called Historic England continues the statutory role of giving expert, constructive advice to owners, local authorities and the public, and championing the wider historic environment.

Caring for the national heritage collection

The Government awarded £80m towards safeguarding and improving the historic properties in our care. This investment will fund vital conservation work and see new presentation and interpretation at our sites.

It will mean more care for those places where significant moments in England's history happened and will help English Heritage to bring the story of England to life better than ever before.

The following are a few examples of sites that will benefit from future investment:


Rievaulx Abbey is one of the best preserved and most impressive monastic sites in England. The new English Heritage charity intends to transform the visitor experience through creating an outstanding museum in which to tell the history of the site and display the nationally important collection of artefacts.

We aim to set new standards in innovative interpretation, as we tell the abbey's 900-year story. Making the fullest use of our rich collection of artefacts, we will explain why Rievaulx was and remains a place of the highest significance.


We will improve our presentation of the most famous battle fought on English soil, and the abbey and great house that were later built on the site.

A recent re-assessment has provided new insights on the battle, episodes of which are now thought to have taken place on the margins of the guardianship area and outside it. These discoveries provide an exciting opportunity to incorporate new interpretation to re-tell the story of the battlefield and William the Conqueror's abbey, built on the exact spot where Harold died.

We will create a new exhibition in the Great Gatehouse of the medieval abbey, one of the finest monastic gatehouses in England. The new exhibition, telling the story of the abbey (and the town outside its gates), will incorporate artefacts never before displayed. For the first time visitors will be able to enjoy the magnificent view from the roof (passing arrow-slits, portcullises and other intriguing features on their way up), to look over the town of Battle, and will gain a better understanding of the landscape on which the battle was fought.


The key to England' for over nine centuries, England's biggest and strongest fortress includes a Roman lighthouse, a medieval royal palace, and tunnels from where the Dunkirk evacuation was masterminded.

Today, Dover Castle presents numerous conservation challenges. Although many buildings are in good condition, there are several elements of the castle of outstanding significance which are in a poor state. The areas being addressed in the first year of the new charity include parts of defences at the north end of the castle which will potentially allow greater public access around certain towers and tunnels. Works will consolidate the masonry and consist of removal of damaging vegetation which has begun to gain a deep hold in the masonry, repointing and repair of masonry to ensure its weather-tightness.

St. Mary in Castro is one of the most significant buildings at Dover Castle. An 11th-century church of imposing proportions, it was refashioned in the 13th century, fell into ruined disrepair during the Early Modern period and was restored in the 19th century. As a result it combines an important well-preserved Anglo-Saxon building with high-medieval detailing and rich Victorian internal decoration.

Unfortunately, time and the elements have taken their toll - English Heritage has identified effects of water penetration contributing to an outbreak of rot in the timber wall plate within the church's tower, which if left untreated could have serious structural implications. Cracking and open joints within the tower's brick structure are also evident and further contribute to water ingress.

Works will include repairs to leadwork and masonry to prevent water ingress and protect the church's interiors from further degradation. Specialist structural ties will be inserted to stabilize the tower.


The pavilion was designed by Thomas Archer and built between 1709 and 1711. It was designed to serve hunting parties and for fashionable suppers. It is an extremely beautiful building in the English Baroque style and a pivotal feature in the garden, the focal point of the Long Canal view.

Previous repairs to the leadwork coverings are beginning to fail thus allowing water to penetrate the interior of the building fabric and damaging the structural timbers.

The new charity will start a programme of repairs to address these problems and repair and replace the lead covering to the dome to ensure the building is weather tight. Specialist conservation works will protect the important interiors and decorative schemes.

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