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East Burnham animal pound

A Scheduled Monument in Burnham, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.5461 / 51°32'46"N

Longitude: -0.6238 / 0°37'25"W

OS Eastings: 495522.7515

OS Northings: 183924.597

OS Grid: SU955839

Mapcode National: GBR F7S.528

Mapcode Global: VHFT2.4DKL

Entry Name: East Burnham animal pound

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013960

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27139

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Burnham

Built-Up Area: Slough

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Farnham Royal

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The East Burnham animal pound stands on the east side of Crown Lane, some 40m
to the south east of the Crown Inn, and 600m from the southern part of Burham
Beeches known as East Burnham Common. The pound is a Grade II Listed Building.

The rectangular walled enclosure is aligned with the road and measures c.8.5m
by 5m. The walls are built in red brick and stand to the original full height
of c.1.5m; varying between 0.22m and 0.35m in width depending on the thickness
of the revetment added below the top two or three courses on the eastern sides
of the two long walls, and on both sides of the northern wall. There is a
single, narrow entrance near the southern end of the west wall containing a
modern wooden gate, which is not included in the scheduling. The interior
ground surface is composed of earth, cinders and slag, overlying a brick lined
culvert which passes beneath the centre on the long axis. The entrance to the
culvert, a narrow brick archway, remains visible below the south wall where
the roadside ditch remains open. The ditch is no longer visible to the north,
but is assumed to have been backfilled over a pipe, since the water still

The pound is depicted on a plan of the estate of Henry Sayer dated 1796 and is
believed to have been constructed shortly before, as it is not shown on an
earlier map of 1788. It lay within the Manor of East Burnham (or Allards),
which is first mentioned in the 16th century, although its origins are thought
to go back to the 13th century. Allards was amalgamated with Huntercombe Manor
before 1714, passing to Captain Henry Sayer by 1786, thence to John Popple in
1810 and to Lady Grenville by 1831. The Manorial Court of the Allards was held
annually in the Crown Inn, and the Court Rolls for 1796, 1803, 1810, 1818,
1825 and 1836 show that on each occasion a hayward was appointed for the
manor. In addition to keeping the common herd of cattle belonging to the town,
the haywards's task was to impound all unmarked cattle, sheep and swine
illegally grazing `the commons and waste grounds in the manor'; and to hold
them until fines were paid for their release. Declining regulation of the
commons and wood-pasture under the ownership of the Grenville family led to
the deterioration of the pound in the mid 19th century, when its condition
formed the basis of a dispute between Lady Grenville and a local resident, Mrs
Grote. In 1879 the greater part of Burnham Beeches was offered for sale by Sir
Henry Peet (Lady Grenville's successor) and bought by The Corporation of
London, who were empowered by Act of Parliament in 1878 to acquire lands
within a 25 mile radius of the capital. The Corporation issued bye-laws for
the `regulation of the use of Burnham Beeches' which included clauses
forbidding `rescuing or attempting to rescue any animal which is being led,
driven or taken to the Manor Pound' or `attempting to take any such animal out
of such pound, or injuring such pound or its lock'. Further regulations
determined five days each year on which those entitled to send their cattle to
depasture in the Beeches had their stock marked. Stock found without markings
would then be impounded, together with all `uncommonable animals', and cried
in the nearby market town of Beaconsfield if not reclaimed within 14 days.
The Corporation, having use for the pound, saw to its repair. It was put in
good order in 1930 and remained so until the war when it was damaged by
evacuees from London, and possibly by the army which was then using the
Beeches as a vehicle depot. It was repaired again in 1943 and a stone plaque
was inserted in the roadside wall commemorating the event and urging the
public to `appreciate and respect this interesting relick'(sic). These repairs
allowed the pound to survive the following 50 years but were somewhat
rudimentary, using incompatible mortar and inappropriate replacement bricks.
In 1993/4 the Corporation undertook more extensive restoration work, replacing
the earlier reconstructed sections with reclaimed and matching bricks, and
replacing the wartime bonding with a mortar based on the original mixture. A
full structural survey, including photogrammetric recording preceded the
restoration, documenting the appearance of the pound before work commenced,
and over 60% of the original walling remains largely unaltered.

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

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 disturbed 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. All
examples surviving in good condition, particularly those supported by
historical evidence for ownership and function, are considered worthy of

The East Burnham animal pound now stands as a well preserved and well
maintained monument in the landscape. Although large sections of the east
wall and most of the south wall have been replaced, the new work meticulously
matches the original brickwork, and allows a clear picture of the monument as
originally constructed. The interior of the pound remains undisturbed,
allowing the preservation of any original features (such as made surfaces or
drainage systems) or artefacts buried beneath the present surface, as well as
any evidence for earlier structures or land use on the same site.
The association between the monument and the ancient woodland and commons of
Burnham Beeches is of particular interest, reflecting the management of the
woodland stock, and providing a graphic illustration of part of the rural
ecomony practised by local society in the post-medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Official Guide to Burnham Beeches, (1993)
Pike, A, A Study of East Burnham Cattle Pound, (1990)
Commemorative plaque on west wall, Corporation of London, (1943)
info from Corporation architect, Clare, J, East Burnham cattle pound, (1995)
info from Keeper of Burnham Beeches, Frater, M, East Burnham Pound, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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