The ruined wall of the chapel shows an arched doorway and a flint-covered wall.
Minsden Chapel, Hitchin, Hertfordshire (Grade II listed, scheduled monument) has been saved. © Historic England Archive. DP440121.
Minsden Chapel, Hitchin, Hertfordshire (Grade II listed, scheduled monument) has been saved. © Historic England Archive. DP440121.

Heritage at Risk in the East of England Revealed

Today, Historic England publishes its annual Heritage at Risk Register for 2023. The Register is the yearly health check of England’s most valued historic places and those most at risk of being lost forever due to neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Highlights from sites saved in 2023

Over the past year, 9 sites have been saved and their futures secured. Many have been rescued thanks to heritage partners and dedicated teams of volunteers, community groups, charities, owners and councils, working together with Historic England.

Saved: Bourn Mill, Cambridgeshire

Bourn Mill, one of the oldest windmills in England, was purchased and saved from dereliction in 1932 by the charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future.

At risk of collapse, it was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2021. Working in partnership with volunteers, local people, private donors, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and other funders has enabled the urgent repair of this special local landmark.

Saved: Creeksea Place, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex

Built in 1569, Creeksea Place had 3 or 4 ranges with a courtyard. The south range was destroyed in 1740. The east wing was built in the 19th century on the foundations of the old structure.

For 5 generations, The Bertorelli family have restored and brought this historic manor house to life.
Today, Creeksea Place operates as a wedding venue and holiday let, with community activities held throughout the year.

Historic England gave a Culture Recovery Fund grant to support the building’s ongoing restoration project.

Saved: Minsden Chapel, Hitchin, Hertfordshire

Minsden Chapel is an isolated ruined structure in Chapelfoot, Hertfordshire. It was built around the 14th century and last used for regular services in the 17th century.

Abandoned and left to deteriorate, it was still providing a place of worship for a large congregation of non-Conformists in the 18th century.

The chapel was added to the Heritage at Risk register in 2009. A major repair project, funded by Natural England through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, has ensured the safety and future of the chapel.


Highlights from sites added to the Register

Over the past year, 31 historic buildings and sites have been added to the Register in the East of England because they are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

At Risk: The Great White Horse Hotel, Ipswich, Suffolk

Originally a 16th- to 17th-century timber-framed building, the Great White Horse Hotel was refronted, using Suffolk white bricks, in the early 19th century.  A regular guest was Charles Dickens, who drew inspiration for the inn in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers.  

There is dry rot in the ‘Dickens Room’, detaching plaster and deteriorating windows and joinery. Historic England is discussing the building’s challenges with the local authority, the tenant and landlord.  


At Risk: Cold War Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Site, Roydon, Essex

The standing and buried remains of a Cold War Heavy Anti-Aircraft battery in Roydon, Essex, is a rare survivor of post-war defences. The battery became operational in 1949/50 as part of the London and South East section of the national defence plan, known as ‘Igloo’, from 1951 to 1955.

The site is suffering from progressive decay, vandalism, scrub growth and encroachment, and the concrete has failed in the control room.

At Risk: Church of St Mary, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk

A church has stood on the site of St Mary’s for at least a thousand years. It was rebuilt in the 15th century. The church tower was an inspiration to landscape artist John Constable.
In October 2020, the fall of some of the south aisle wall revealed further structural instability.
The Parochial Church Council has conducted a successful fundraising campaign. Historic England has awarded a repair grant of £135,507. Repairs are due to be completed by December 2023.  


Heritage at Risk 2023 in brief

The Heritage at Risk Register 2023 reveals that in the East of England: 

  • 126 Buildings or Structures (Grade I and II* listed buildings and structural scheduled monuments across England, plus Grade II listed buildings in London
  • 122 places of worship
  • 101 Archaeology entries (non-structural scheduled monuments)
  • 11 parks and gardens
  • 0 battlefields
  • 1 protected wreck sites and
  • 51 conservation areas

…are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change. 

In total, there are 412 entries across the East of England on the 2023 Heritage at Risk Register.