Ancient Monuments

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Animal pound 160m ESE of Gwithian church

A Scheduled Monument in Gwinear-Gwithian, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2216 / 50°13'17"N

Longitude: -5.3829 / 5°22'58"W

OS Eastings: 158788.028353

OS Northings: 41212.503788

OS Grid: SW587412

Mapcode National: GBR FX23.540

Mapcode Global: VH12G.NP4G

Entry Name: Animal pound 160m ESE of Gwithian church

Scheduled Date: 20 October 1971

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004261

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 773

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Gwinear-Gwithian

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Phillack

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an animal pound, situated on the outskirts of the settlement of Gwithian. The pound survives as a circular enclosure defined by a high stone faced bank, with a largely-buried outer ditch and an entrance to the west. Known locally as 'The Withy Garden' or 'The Round' it is the former Hundred Pound of Conerton (subsequently Penwith) Hundred. This Hundred was private and the rights were held by the Arundell family for many centuries. The pound is named in a document of 1564 and lies on the edge of the marshy common known as Gwithian Green.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-425134

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The term animal pound is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word `pund' meaning enclosure, and is used to describe stock-proof areas for confining stray or illegally pastured stock and legally-kept animals rounded up at certain times of the year from areas of common grazing. The earliest documentary references to pounds date from the 12th century and they continued to be constructed and used throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods. Most surviving examples are likely to be less than three centuries old, and most will have fallen into disuse in the late 19th or early 20th century. Animal pounds are usually located in villages or towns though some lie in more open locations particularly on the edge of old woodlands and commons. Construction methods vary according to the availability of building materials: stone, brick, fencing, iron railings and earthworks being used to enclose areas ranging from 4m by 6m to over 0.5ha. The walls are normally about 1.5m high, although greater heights are not uncommon as attempts to prevent poundbreach. In addition to stock control, animals were sometimes taken as a `distress' (seizure of property in lieu of debt or to enforce payment) and kept under the care of the pinder or hayward until redeemed. Pounds are usually unroofed and have a single entrance, although some have additional low entrances to allow the passage of sheep and pigs while retaining larger stock. Other features include rudimentary shelters for the pound-keeper, laid floors, drainage channels, troughs and internal partitions to separate the beasts. Animal pounds are widely distributed throughout England, with particular concentrations in the west and Midlands. About 250 examples are known to survive in fair condition, with perhaps another 150 examples recorded either as remains, or from documentary evidence alone. Pounds illustrate a specialised aspect of past social organisation and animal husbandry, and reflect the use and former appearance of the surrounding landscape. The animal pound 160m ESE of Gwithian church survives well and is a particularly interesting example because it is supported by historical evidence for ownership and function.

Source: Historic England

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