A birds-eye view of a wrecked ship on a muddy shore.
Lady Alice Kenlis, Sutton, East Suffolk, Suffolk © Historic England Archive DP435099 Visit the list entry for Lady Alice Kenlis.
Lady Alice Kenlis, Sutton, East Suffolk, Suffolk © Historic England Archive DP435099 Visit the list entry for Lady Alice Kenlis.

Understanding the List Entry

With over 400,000 buildings, landscapes, sites, monuments and more, the entries on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) vary depending on when they were created, as well as which heritage category they belong to (listing, scheduling etc). Explore this page to understand what information you can find in each section of a list entry, as well as what you’ll find on each of the different tabs. 

More about the History and Details sections of the list entry

Originally, list entries were brief and intended to help with identification. In recent decades, greater efforts have been made to explain the history of the building or site and to outline its special interest. As a result, modern List entries (since around 2005) are fuller than earlier ones, and it’s fair to say that the more recent the description, the more detail it will have.  

More recently, it has been possible, in relation to listed buildings, to be more precise about which elements of a building are included within the listing.  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. For more information, please see The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act

List descriptions are not a comprehensive record of the special interest of the building and the amount of information varies considerably from a few sentences to several paragraphs depending on when it was written. In relation to listed buildings, whether a List entry is short or long, the whole building (interior and exterior) is listed. Some entries make no reference to the interior but it will be covered by the listing, even at Grade II. 

It’s important to note that if works are proposed for a scheduled monument, then an application for Scheduled Monument Consent is processed by Historic England, with the decision taken by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. If works are proposed to a listed building, it is the local planning authority who process and generally decide whether to grant Listed Building Consent.  Local planning authorities are responsible for defining what structures relating to a listed building fall within its curtilage.  

If you need further information, please contact the planning and conservation officers in the relevant local authority or Historic England, as appropriate. 

What are Legacy Data Systems?

In early 2011, we carried out the mammoth task of transferring all the existing records (known as legacy data) from several separate databases 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 from scratch, as there would have been hundreds of thousands of records to revisit!   

Because of this, many of the older records will contain information showing which database the entry has been drawn from.  These legacy entries often contain less detailed information than the list entries we create today, but the list entry is no less valid as a result. 

To understand more about the history of listing, please visit The History of the List.

What can I find in the different sections of the list entry?

Heritage Category

This section shows which heritage category the list entry belongs to:

  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Registered Parks & Garden
  • Registered Battlefield
  • Protected Wreck
  • Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI)
  • Building Preservation Notice (BPN)
  • World Heritage Site

The location section provides location information, usually including address details and map references, which can be essential for finding and correctly identifying the entry, particularly in remote or densely built-up areas, such as a grave within a cemetery.


The grade of a listed building, registered park, or garden is intended to indicate its special interest in a national context.

  • Grade I buildings are of exceptional special interest
  • Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest
  • Grade II buildings are of special interest

Scheduled monuments, registered battlefields and protected wrecks are not graded.

List Entry Number

Every list entry has a unique seven figure reference number. You can use the list entry number to find an entry when searching the list, which ensures you don’t bring up duplicate entries (there might, for instance, be more than one St Mary’s Church in Birmingham if you use those search criteria). 

Date first listed

The date first listed is the date the entry was added to the List.

Date of most recent amendment

The date of most recent amendment shows when a list entry was last updated. These updates can be quite significant, such as a change of grade or revisions to update an older list entry and bring it into line with current standards. Fuller List entries only became the norm in the early 2000s. 


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: 

‘Eel, pie and mash shop, opened 1900 and refitted in the 1930s. The shop forms part of a mid-C19 terrace with residential accommodation above.’ 


‘Former mustard seed drying shed built for Colman's of Norwich, dated 1890 and extended in the early-C20.’ 


‘Road bridge crossing the River Yarrow, early- to mid-C18.’ 


‘Hull of the Lady Alice Kenlis, an iron ship designed and built by Hercules Linton in 1867.’ 


If the List entry has been generated from one of our legacy systems 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 to new list entries. These explain the main reasons why the building or site was added to the List (how it meets the criteria used to assess that type of entry) and, if applicable, at what grade.  

Listed buildings, for example, are assessed against the criteria of ‘Special Architectural Interest’ and/or ‘Special Historic Interest’ and so the ‘Reasons for Designation’ will include a bullet point explanation of how the building meets either or both criteria. 

As with the section 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. 


Newer list entries with a history section usually set out a brief history of the building or site, beginning by introducing its origins and how it developed. It might include information on the architect or designer, and other people who were connected to the building or site. It might also include a summary of that type of heritage, for example a list entry for a cabman’s shelter might summarise the development of cabmen’s shelters. Details of later alterations or the excavation history of the site might also be included here. 

It is not intended to be a full history. For further information you should refer to the selected sources (below) as well as the relevant Selection Guide and our Introductions to Heritage Assets series.  

As with the section 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 is not an exhaustive description, but a summary of the main features of the building or site. 

  • For listed buildings, this section will usually include the building type, date, architect, materials, plan, exterior and interior details and subsidiary features.
  • Entries for scheduled monuments tend to be broken down into the principal elements that are scheduled, description, indication of survival and sources.
  • For parks and gardens, the details section of the entry will focus on the principal elements of the site. These will be laid out in a logical sequence: for formal landscapes, these will start with the main building or structure and then continue outwards. For cemeteries and parks the elements will be described working inwards from the main entrance.
  • For battlefields, this section will generally focus on the topography, features and archaeological potential of the site.
  • For protected wrecks, the details section of the entry will usually provide a general description of the site along with the designation history. 

This section will sometimes contain information on any less significant changes that have been made to a list entry, such as a change to the address. 


This section is intended to be a helpful reference. It is not an exhaustive list of every source used in researching the list entry and in some cases sources may go out of print or be superseded by more recent editions. Please refer to any relevant Selection Guides or Introduction to Heritage Assets which should contain a helpful summary of the asset type, as well as other 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. 

Buildings listed before April 2011 are generally denoted by a small blue triangle. The triangle may not be positioned in the centre of the building or buildings. Buildings added to the List after April 2011 are denoted by a blue polygon. 

Scheduled monuments have a defined protected area denoted by a red polygon. Some sites include an additional 2-3 metre buffer zone around the monument (where this is the case, it will be stated in the list description). 

Registered parks and gardens have a defined area denoted by a green polygon. 

Registered battlefields have a defined area denoted by a brown polygon. A polygon is a shape drawn onto a map to show a specific location such as a building or protected area.

Protected wreck sites have a defined area generally denoted by a blue circle.


Older records will contain information showing which database the entry has been drawn from, such as the LBS (Listed Building System) or RSM (Register of Scheduled Monuments), and the legacy reference number. 


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. 

What are the different tabs for?

There are currently three tabs on the NHLE:

  1. Overview
  2. Official List Entry
  3. Comments and Photos


This provides the name, unique NHLE number, heritage category (such as Scheduled Monument or Registered Park and Garden), a photograph where we have one, and a map showing the general location of the building. If we have one, there will also be a photograph from the Images of England project. We are currently trialling changes to this tab which include a brief description of the site and information on whether it is included on the Heritage at Risk Register (HAR). 

Official List Entry

This is, in the case of the statutory (legal) designations (Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments) the legal part of the list entry which defines why something is listed or scheduled and exactly which parts of it are covered by the listing or scheduling. Listing, Scheduling and Protected Wreck entries are added to the NHLE by Historic England on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). 

Whilst list entries for Registered Parks & Gardens, and Registered Battlefields are laid out similarly, these entries are added to the NHLE by Historic England.

Comments and Photos

This is a place for adding snapshots, stories and insights. You can do this through our Missing Pieces Project, which helps to bring the places on the NHLE to life and helps us to understand how they might be appreciated. Contribute to the Missing Pieces Project 

What if a list entry requires updating or amending?

Enhanced Advisory Services 

We know that that older list entries can be very brief, sometimes only describing one aspect of the building or site. Our paid-for Listing Enhancement service provides an updated list entry within a guaranteed time frame. An enhanced entry will describe the building in greater detail, including the reasons why it was listed, and providing greater clarity on why it is important.  You can apply for a Listing Enhancement using our listing application form. You can use the same form to apply for an amendment under our free service. 

Minor Amendments 

With over 400,000 entries on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE), we realise that there are bound to be some small errors, so we offer a fast-track correction process to amend List entries. We refer to these straightforward changes as Minor Amendments. If you would like to know more, please contact our Minor Amendments team at [email protected].  

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