Ancient Monuments

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Animal pound called Crowpound

A Scheduled Monument in St. Neot, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.481 / 50°28'51"N

Longitude: -4.5746 / 4°34'28"W

OS Eastings: 217434.214673

OS Northings: 67747.491666

OS Grid: SX174677

Mapcode National: GBR N9.M0RC

Mapcode Global: FRA 179S.HLV

Entry Name: Animal pound called Crowpound

Scheduled Date: 5 November 1954

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004456

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 393

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Neot

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Neot

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an animal pound, situated at the summit of a prominent ridge called Goonzion Downs. The pound survives as a rectangular enclosure measuring 50m long by 38m wide. It is internally defined by a sharply-profiled earth and stone bank with rounded corners of 2.5m wide and 1m high, with partially buried outer and inner ditches of 1.3m wide and 0.2m deep. There are simple entrance gaps on the north and south sides. Centrally placed within the enclosure is a circular feature measuring 8m in diameter. This has a slightly raised interior and is defined by a bank which is 2m wide and 0.7m high, with a northern entrance. The central feature has been variously interpreted as a stone hut circle, a robbed cairn, the base of a mining horse whim and a possible goose house or shelter although without excavation it is difficult to confirm any of these interpretations.

The interior and exterior area surrounding the pound has been disturbed by mining activity, and there are a number of C20 military slit trenches within the pound itself.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-432353

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments, as well as later industrial remains, provides significant insight into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. 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 pound breach. 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. Despite subsequent mining and military activity, the animal pound called Crowpound survives comparatively well on an area of open common close to the roads which cross it and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, date, longevity, function, re-use, agricultural practices, social and economic significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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