Scheduled monument

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In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorised change. The protection given to scheduled monuments is separate from the Town and Country Planning system. Scheduled Monuments are defined in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. In England, Wales and Scotland they are often referred to as a scheduled ancient monument - although the Act defines only ancient monument and scheduled monument. In Northern Ireland they are designated under separate legislation and are referred to as a scheduled historic monument (for those in private ownership) or a monument in state care (for those in public ownership).

Of the tens of thousands of scheduled monuments in the UK, most are inconspicuous archeological sites, but some are large ruins and others intact buildings which remain in use.


The schedules

In England the Department for Culture, Media and Sport keeps a register, or schedule, of nationally important sites which receive state protection; this now includes over 31,000 sites. This process was first devolved to Scotland and Wales in the 1970s and is now operated there by the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government. The three government bodies with responsibility for archaeology and the historic environment in Britain are: English Heritage in England, Cadw in Wales, Historic Scotland in Scotland. The Northern Irish system is governed by separate legislation, and is operated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.

Scheduling affords greater protection as it becomes illegal to undertake a great range of works within a designated area, without 'scheduled monument consent'.


To be eligible for scheduling, a monument must be demonstrably of (in the terms of the 1979 Act) 'national importance'. Non-statutory criteria are provided to guide the assessment. In England these are:[1]

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