Pounds and Pinfolds

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FAQ's & History

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers!
Q: What is the difference between a Pound and a Pinfold?
A: There appears to be no difference. The terms seem to be interchangable with the south and west of England favouring Pound and the north and east Pinfold, although there are contrary examples to be found throughout the country. At the time of the first OS maps the surveyor probably recorded the term in common usage as the structures predated the surveyors visit.   
Q: Is a sheepfold a Pinfold?
A: No. Sheepfolds, although often similar in construction, are used as a shelter by the sheep and as an aid when managing sheep on the open fell. 
The studies mentioned earlier of Derbyshire pinfolds indicates that there is genuine confusion about whether these structures are sheepfolds or pinfolds.
I suggest that there are several indicators that will help:
a, Location. Pinfolds are usually within or near a township whilst sheepfolds are usually at field corners and often in open countryside.
b, Construction. Pinfolds can often be constructed with dressed stone rather than the dry stone wall construction of most sheepfolds. 
c, Early map descriptions. Sheepfolds are shown in numerous locations and although not all pounds and pinfolds are named many are specifically named. Whether named as a pound or pinfold is thought to have been based on the local informatiion given to the Ordnance Survey surveyor at the time.    
Q: Why do Pounds and Pinfolds vary so much in design and size?
A: Please see Research Articles.

Q: When were they used and what were they used for?  
A: The earliest records I have found so far date back to 1530 when they were used to impound stray animals found trespassing on the Lord of the Manor's land. I am still researching this area and will provide a full answer as soon as possible.

Historical Research.

There appears to be a dearth of specific and original historical references to the building and maintenance of Pounds and Pinfolds, how they were used and the influence they had on communal life from the late 15th century but references are to be found.

It is possible to build, from source material in local records offices, Manorial Court records and other publications, a picture of the use of Pounds and Pinfolds so watch this space....

  ----------------------------------------------------------The Cumbrian Manorial Records Project at Lancaster University is developing a website on "How to use manorial records" and has involved members of the Lorton & Derwent Fells Local History Society, of which I am a member, in research using manorial records. This is revealing many references to the management of pinfolds as far back as 1530. Watch this space for further updates.........  

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click here for Articles of Interest

click here for Cartmel Peninsula Local History Society site

click here for the "Lorton & Derwent Fells Local History Society"

click here to see "Cumbria Manorial Records" site

Funding for Restoration.
 
Funding to restore a Pound or Pinfold may be available from local and national sources. Qualification or entitlement will depend on the amount of work needed, the cost of expert help, the location, the amount of community involvement and many other factors. Having said that, where there is a will there is a way as has been shown by the number of structures already restored found in Cumbria. 
Sources that may be able to help are:
 

Local Heritage Initiative

Click her to contact the editor

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Project of the Field Broughton Historical Society, Field Broughton, Cumbria

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