Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Willsworthy Pound adjacent to Willsworthy Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6163 / 50°36'58"N

Longitude: -4.074 / 4°4'26"W

OS Eastings: 253368.330179

OS Northings: 81675.287356

OS Grid: SX533816

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.BHDT

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CF.SRF

Entry Name: Willsworthy Pound adjacent to Willsworthy Bridge

Scheduled Date: 5 January 1927

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020010

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24107

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes an animal pound situated within a shallow valley next to
a stream leading to the River Tavy. The pound survives as a`D'-shaped walled
structure measuring 9.5m north east to south west by 7.7m north west to south
east internally. The structure is denoted by a substantial drystone wall
composed mainly of large boulders. The wall is up to 1.8m high by 1.5m wide
and a 1m wide gap in the north eastern side denoted by large orthostats
represents an original entrance.
The pound lies adjacent to the Lich Way, which may in some way explain its
siting. More significantly, however, its proximity to a manor house has led
to the structure being traditionally described as the Manor Pound of

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

Willsworthy Pound survives well and contains archaeological and environmental
information about its construction and use. Small manor pounds such as this
one are considered rare on the Moor and contain vital information relating to
the management of animals during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW20, (1982)

Source: Historic England

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