Ancient Monuments

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Animal pound 90m ENE of Pound Cot

A Scheduled Monument in Warbstow, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6829 / 50°40'58"N

Longitude: -4.5362 / 4°32'10"W

OS Eastings: 220927.084921

OS Northings: 90097.099903

OS Grid: SX209900

Mapcode National: GBR NB.6BMB

Mapcode Global: FRA 17D8.LKK

Entry Name: Animal pound 90m ENE of Pound Cot

Scheduled Date: 18 June 1980

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007294

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 1079

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Warbstow

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Jacobstow

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an animal pound, situated beside the village green of Downinney. The pound survives as a roughly-rectangular enclosed area measuring approximately 13m long by 10m wide. It is defined by a strong stone and earth-built hedge of up to 1m thick and 1.5m high. It has a single entrance on the south side. By oral tradition it was in use as an animal pound beside the common until the beginning of the 20th century. It is of uncertain date but may have been connected with a nearby manor.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436598

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 90m ENE of Pound Cot survives well and is one of the few well-preserved examples of this class of monument left in Cornwall. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, agricultural practices, social significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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