Index – Contested heritage

Below are links to posts on L&RUK relating to “contested heritage”, a phrase of which it has been noted “in itself causes unease because the contested nature confirms that it is the heritage of two or more parties, albeit from different perspectives” *.

Rustat Memorial

Colston and other memorials in Bristol

  • Criminal damage to the Colston statue: AG’s reference. (28 September 2022).
  • Contested heritage – Bristol Cathedral. “All God’s children” is an exhibition in Bristol Cathedral and on College Green, 22 August  2022 to 21 October 2022, which explores the impact of the slave economy on Cathedral life, past and present. Research that informed the exhibition discovered that between 1670 and 1900, roughly 1,000 people were buried or memorialized in the Cathedral and its grounds. Around 200 of them had a close connection to the slavery-based economy. (21 August 2022).
  • Contested heritage – St Mary Redcliffe. Following the removal of the four panels at the bottom of the church’s north transept window which bore the name of Edward Colston, and their replacement with plain glass as a temporary measure, the church has launched a competition to design four dedication panels for the bottom of the Good Samaritan stained-glass window located in the North Transept, (29 May 2022).
  • AG seeks clarification on human rights and criminal damage, The referral relates to the Colston statue protest. The AG concluded that this case has led to uncertainty regarding the interaction between the offence of criminal damage and the rights relevant to protest peacefully(13 April 2022).
  • Contested heritage – A review of the Church of England guidance in this guest post, Trevor Cooper, of the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance, looks at the issues surrounding “contested heritage”. (21 January 2022).
  • “Contested heritage” and the Colston statue. In R v Graham & Ors [2022] Bristol Crown Ct (unreported), the jury acquitted Sage Willoughby, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford and Jake Skuse on charges of criminal damage after they and others pulled down a statue of the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into Bristol harbour]. (9 January 2022). 
  • Research at Bristol Cathedral, (scroll down), Round-up item on Research Partner for audit of the Cathedral monuments, (9 May 2021).
  • Bristol Cathedral, Edward Colston and slavery, Press release and interview with the Bishop, (24 February 2017).

Cecil Rhodes statue

London Borough of Lambeth

  • Contested heritage – Lambeth Borough The London Borough of Lambeth has published the results of a two-month public consultation on “statues, memorials and street names with associations with the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism”. (5 June 2022)


Draft legislation


Church of England

Historic England

Consistory court judgments – Links to judgments

Consistory court judgments – Reviews and Case Notes

Church of England – L&RUK posts

General issues – L&RUK posts

Other examples of contested heritage

* Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) response to Consultation on Historic England’s draft Guidance on dealing with Contested Heritage, (16 February 2018). 

Last updated, 19 September 2023 at 14:53.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Index – Contested heritage" in Law & Religion UK, 14 June 2021,

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