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Prince Rupert's Mound: a 17th century fieldwork

A Scheduled Monument in Lichfield, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.687 / 52°41'13"N

Longitude: -1.8336 / 1°50'0"W

OS Eastings: 411346.168086

OS Northings: 309930.942918

OS Grid: SK113099

Mapcode National: GBR 3C9.K7D

Mapcode Global: WHCGN.TQ1G

Entry Name: Prince Rupert's Mound: a 17th century fieldwork

Scheduled Date: 13 January 2005

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021362

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35875

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Lichfield

Built-Up Area: Lichfield

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Lichfield St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


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
The surface of a pavement is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Source: Historic England


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)

Source: Historic England

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