When General Pitt-Rivers was appointed as first Inspector under the 1882 Act, which first protected British Ancient Monuments, the Act's Schedule named just 50 sites nationally. Although many monuments have been added to the Schedule since then, the growth in knowledge of the long and intensive occupation of England has been such that the current total of nearly 13,000 scheduled monuments amounts to only 1 in 50 of the sites thought to exist.
In matters of monument protection, Britain lies somewhere in the middle: well short of the promised land, as we see it, of Denmark where effective protection goes out from the spot site to include its environs; but well ahead of, for example, the USA where respect for a landowner's formal rights of property is so strong that there is still no Federal protection for monuments in private ownership.
English Heritage feels that now is the time to put the Schedule of protected monuments, as it has grown over the years, into rational shape. The present Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Andrew Saunders, and his colleagues explain why and how.