Prince Rupert's Mound: a 17th century fieldwork


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021362

Date first listed: 13-Jan-2005


Ordnance survey map of Prince Rupert's Mound: a 17th century fieldwork
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Staffordshire

District: Lichfield (District Authority)

Parish: Lichfield

National Grid Reference: SK 11347 09931


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645 to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and inter- connected trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop- or soil-marks on aerial photographs. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged areas. There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. All examples which survive well and/or represent particular forms of construction are identified as nationally important.

The 17th century fieldwork known as Prince Rupert's Mound is the only upstanding example known to survive of a number of Civil War fieldworks constructed at Lichfield. The mound and ditch will retain information about their formation and possible modification during the site's military use. Well-preserved deposits within the ditch are likely to contain quantities of ammunition, which together with the ammunition left on the mound and the material previously collected, will provide information about the types of weapons deployed on the site and those of the attacking forces. Therefore, the remains here will contribute to our understanding of military operations in the town and will provide detailed information about the nature of warfare at this time.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a 17th century fieldwork known as Prince Rupert's Mound. It is situated at the top of a south facing slope with a commanding view of the cathedral and lies 65m north east of Beacon Street, the principal historic routeway into the city from the north west. Lichfield, with its strongly defended cathedral close and its position as a focus of communications, was of strategic importance during the English Civil War. Early in 1643 the cathedral close was garrisoned by Royalists under the command of the Earl of Chesterfield. Parliamentary forces besieged the close between the 1st and 5th March 1643, led initially by Lord Brooke and latterly by Sir John Gell, with further reinforcements under the command of Sir William Brereton. Following Chesterfield's surrender a Parliamentary garrison occupied the close under Colonel Russell. Shortly afterwards, between the 7th and 21st April 1643, a second siege resulted in the close being recaptured by Royalist troops under the command of Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I. Lichfield remained a Royalist stronghold until virtually the end of the war. In March 1646, following the capture of the city by Sir William Brereton, the cathedral close was again besieged. This siege lasted four months and ended with the Royalist surrender on 10 July. During this time Brereton constructed a series of fortifications around the town, including four `mounts' or mounds. One just to the north of the close was adapted to form a small fort for cannons and was known as Gloucester Mount after the Gloucestershire men who manned it. While Prince Rupert's Mound is traditionally associated with the second siege, the possibility exists that this gun battery was built or modified at the time of the third siege and was Gloucester Mount. The gun battery known as Prince Rupert's Mound is rectangular in plan and takes the form of a gently sloping elevated platform partly bounded by a ditch. The platform measures approximately 12.5m north west-south east by 17m south west-north east across the top, and 23m by 23m in the same directions at its base. The platform reaches its greatest height along the south eastern side, where it stands up to 1.7m. Material for the construction of the platform came from the ditch, which defines its north western and north eastern sides. The north western arm of the ditch is now visible as a shallow depression, about 7m wide, having been largely infilled. It survives as a buried feature. The north eastern arm is more pronounced, which would appear to be partly the result of modern landscaping, and is about 10m wide. The south western side of the platform has also been modified when earth was deposited here during the construction of an adjacent building in the late 20th century. In 1997 quantities of ammunition were found close to the mound at the south, including lead musket balls and a fragment of an iron mortar shell. The surface of a pavement is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 35875

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Staffordshire: Volume XIV, (1990), 17-18
Clayton, H, Loyal and Ancient City, (1987)
Welch, C, 'Environmental Planning Research Report' in Prince Rupert's Mound: a civil war earthwork in Lichfield, , Vol. 3, (1998)

End of official listing