The Leicestershire & Rutland Historic Environment Record (HER)
Leicestershire and Rutland possess a rich and diverse heritage. People have lived here for thousands of years, ever since the arrival of early humans during the Palaeolithic (500,000 BC).
Whether archaeological remains are visible today, such as buildings relating to our industrial past, earthworks of former medieval settlements, or buried remains, when discovered they are eligible to be recorded on the Historic Environment Record (HER).
As such, the HER is the most complete database of known archaeology in Leicestershire & Rutland. It contains approximately 15,000 ‘monument’ records (known archaeological sites), and 9,500 separate finds records made on these sites.
The front screen of the HER computer database (left); Aerial photo of Ashby de la Zouch, with HER info overlaid (right)
What information does it contain?
The records on the HER include archaeological remains dating from the Palaeolithic to the 20th century. The records have been created using many sources, such as antiquarian writings and discoveries, documentary sources such as maps and aerial photographs, chance finds reported by members of the public, and from modern archaeological investigation such as field survey and excavation.
HER records include:
- Chance finds, usually single finds, including pottery sherds, metal objects and flint tools;
- The results of professional archaeological excavations, typically sites surviving only as buried archaeological remains;
- Earthworks and cropmarks, some of which were identified from aerial photographs;
- Standing structures such as historic houses, churches and industrial buildings, including all listed buildings;
- Areas of historic interest such as parks, military sites, battlefields or industrial landscapes;
- Statutorily designated sites e.g. Scheduled Monuments.
The HER is currently being transformed into a digital record, its paper, map and photographic archives being migrated into a computer database. Elements of this are being made available online via the Heritage Gateway. This will make the records both more readily accessible and more easily searched. Much of the detailed information is, however, still held in paper form. For instance, we have aerial photographs and maps showing the results of a medieval ridge and furrow (medieval farming) survey.
An archaeologist sieving at Rearsby (left); Excavation of settlement remains at Seaton, Rutland (right)
What is the HER used for?
The HER is primarily used as part of the development control process. Planning applications are routinely assessed using the HER in order to determine whether they are likely to affect archaeological remains.
Many other people consult the HER, including archaeological contractors, local history societies, students and interested members of the public.
How can I contribute to the HER?
In order to protect the archaeological resource, it is important that the HER is kept up to date, and you can help! Most of the information added is the result of professional archaeological fieldwork, however, we welcome information from members of the public.
If you are involved in archaeology via a local group, perhaps by field-walking or metal detecting, the information may already end up on the HER. However, if you find artefacts (such as sherds of pottery) in your garden, or find items by detecting, why not take them to your local museum? After they have been identified the information will be passed onto us.
Scalford church (left); Parkland at Normanton Turville (right)
Consulting the HER
If you would like to consult the HER you can write to us, e-mail or phone. We will require either a map showing the area you are interested in, or an OS grid reference number (such as NGR SK 952 088). If providing a grid reference you must also specify how wide a search you require – we usually perform 500m or 1km radius searches. Historic Environment Record information can be provided in either paper or digital form.
There is a charge for commercial enquiries (£64 + VAT per hour), but if you need data for educational or personal research the service is free.
Elements of the database are now available online via the Heritage Gateway. For more details about exactly what is published online, please check our information page.
Postal address: HER Officer, Leicestershire & Rutland Historic Environment Record, Historic & Natural Environment Team, Planning Historic and Natural Environment, Leicestershire County Council, Room 400, County Hall, Leicester Road, Glenfield, Leicestershire, LE3 8RA
Telephone: (0116) 305 8323
Other sources of information
The HER is not the only source of historical information in Leicestershire and Rutland! You may also like to try contacting:
The Leicestershire Record Office, the Collections Resources Centre and the National Monuments Record.
Information about other Historic Environment Records can be found on the Heritage Gateway.
Page Last Updated: 4 November 2011