Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Animal pound and enclosure 220m and 120m south west of High Marks Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Diptford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3598 / 50°21'35"N

Longitude: -3.7784 / 3°46'42"W

OS Eastings: 273594.0506

OS Northings: 52607.1146

OS Grid: SX735526

Mapcode National: GBR QH.5T7Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 28Z2.V3H

Entry Name: Animal pound and enclosure 220m and 120m south west of High Marks Barn

Scheduled Date: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020168

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34873

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Diptford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Moreleigh All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes a
post-medieval animal pound and an enclosure. The land slopes gently to the
north and is covered with natural boulders, some of which are large. The long
tapering pound is enclosed from the south western corner of an earlier field,
the large earth banks of which form its south and west sides, measuring 2.5m
wide and 1.5m high, flanked by drainage ditches 2m wide and up to 1m deep. The
east side of the pound is a drystone rubble wall of angular quartz blocks,
0.6m wide and a maximum of 1.2m high. A spring in the lower end of the pound
feeds a small rectangular drinking pond at its north end, measuring 3m long,
2.5m wide and 0.4m deep.
Some 100m to the east is an ovoid enclosure with a stone-faced rubble bank,
enclosing a level area measuring 23m from east to west and 15m from north to
south. Its walls are between 2.5m and 4m wide and survive up to 0.8m high. A
post-medieval hedgebank runs over its east end. This enclosure has been
interpreted as being of prehistoric date.
The fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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

Despite slight damage, the animal pound 220m south west of High Marks Barn
survives well. Its walls and interior with its water catchment pond will
contain information relating to the pound's construction and use, and will add
to the future understanding of the monument.
The enclosure nearby also survives well, its stone banks and interior
retaining buried remains relating to its construction and use.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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