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Understanding the List entry

Users of the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) will notice that List entries vary greatly. Some might be a few lines, whereas many are long and detailed. These variations occur for historical reasons. The following is a guide to what you'll find under each List entry heading.

List Entry Summary

This refers to the relevant Act that protects this building or site on the List, such as the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.


The address or location of a building or site.  It primarily provides information to assist with identification.


The grade of a listed structure is intended to be an indication of its special interest in a national context. Scheduled monuments are not graded, but listed buildings and registered landscapes are graded I (exceptional interest), II* (particularly important, of more than special interest) or II (of special interest).

It is a myth that Grade II listing only applies to the exterior; consent may be required for any works inside or out.

Legacy System Information

In early 2011 we carried out the mammoth task of transferring all the existing designation records (known as legacy data) from the old separate databases (containing listing, scheduling, parks and gardens, battlefields and wreck records) into one new single list known as the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) or the List.

We deliberately transferred existing records onto the new system, rather than starting afresh. It would have been a colossal enterprise to revise around 400,000 records from scratch. Because of this many of the older records will contain information showing which database the entry has been drawn from.

The List contains the date that entries were added or amended giving you clues as to their length and detail.

Asset Groupings

Asset groupings are added after the creation of the record and are not part of the official record. An asset grouping is not the same as group value, which can be a factor in why a building is listed. This new function was developed after the List was created in order to allow us to link List entries that are connected in some way i.e. a listed house and its separately registered garden. This functionality has, however, rarely been used so it is likely this will be removed from List entries in the near future.

Summary of Building/Monument/Site/Garden/Battlefield

In newer entries, this generally includes the type of building or site, date/period and architect (if relevant). This will be contained in a single sentence, for example:
‘Summary of Building: Board school built c1900 to a design by T J Bailey, dated 1892; north wing completed post-WWI.’

If the List entry predates 2010 it will say ‘Legacy Record – This information may be included in the List Entry Details’. This means that the record has been created from one of our older databases so all the information we have can be found under the Details section.

Reasons for Designation

Since 2005 , ‘Reasons for Designation’ have been added.

These summarise the primary reasons that a building or site was added to the List and why a site possesses special significance. The principal claims to interest are generally set out in bullet-points. For older listings, this overarching summary might be a sentence or two at the very end.

As with the Summary section above, it will say ‘Legacy Record – This information may be included in the List Entry Details’ if the entry predates 2010.


This will usually set out a history of the building or site. It introduces the reader to its history by outlining its origins and development.

It might include information on the architect or figures associated with the house. It might also summarise the asset type generally, for example summarising the development of round barrows, to which the entry belongs.

Details of later alterations or excavation history of the site might be included here.

It is not intended to be a full history of a building, monument or landscape and you should refer to Selected Sources (below) for further information, as well as the relevant Selection Guide .

As with the sections above, if the List entry has been generated from one of our Legacy Systems then all the information we have is likely to be contained within the Details section below.


The Details section within the List entry Description describes the assets form, materials, development, style, design and layout, as relevant to that type of building, monument or landscape. It's not an exhaustive description, but a summary of the main features of the building or site. In particular it'll describe the features that led to its inclusion on the List.

For listed buildings, this section will generally include the building type, date, architect, materials, plan, exterior and interior details and subsidiary features.

Scheduling entries tend to be broken down into the principal elements, description, indication of survival and sources.

With the Register of Parks and Gardens there has always been a different process because Historic England takes the final decision, not DCMS. Broadly speaking the details section of the entry will focus on the principal elements. These will be laid out in a logical sequence: for formal landscapes, emanating outwards from the principal building; for cemeteries and parks, working inwards from the main entrance.

It is important to note that descriptions are not a comprehensive or exclusive record of the special interest or significance of the building or site. The amount of information varies considerably from a few sentences to several paragraphs.

Whether a List entry is short and cursory, or long and full, the effect is the same and the whole principal building is listed. While some entries will make no reference to the interior, this does not mean that the interior is not listed.

Modern List entries will often give a steer about certain features being of lesser or no interest. This is intended to help inform owners and local planning authorities when managing changes. Only if the s.1 (5A) of the Planning Act 1990 is invoked (which will apply in new or revised listings since 26 June 2013) is this definitive. For more information, please see The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.

Owners and managers should also be aware that it is the local planning authority that is responsible for whether listed building consent is required for any works to a listed building or site. Please also be aware that other planning constraints might apply.

If you need further information regarding a listed building, scheduled monument or registered landscape in your care, including any related planning matters, please contact the planning and conservation office in the relevant local authority.

Selected Sources and Map

This section is intended to be a helpful reference. It's not an exhaustive list of evidence for the special qualities of the structure. Please also consider reading the relevant Selection Guide as these documents will contain a helpful summary of the asset type, as well as a number of sources for further reading.

The map within the List entry is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full-scale map, you should follow the link provided on the record.

Your Contrubutions

Below the official List entry is a separate section which might include further crowd-sourced photographs or information of note. You can share your knowedge of List entries here for others to enjoy. Find out how to enrich the List.

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