Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pinfolds

There is a pound in our village which the information board near the drinking fountain tells me is for stray animals.

"What a nice idea!" I thought. Presumably, if a farmer lost one of his flock, he could check the pound.

 My thoughts turned out to be a little naïve, as I found out when I researched an oddity that I spied in another village.


The oddity I spied was this and I stopped to see what it was.
Sadly there was no information plaque to tell me the what or the why for. My first thought was that it looked like a giant beehive.

Happily, t'internet had all the answers.

This is the Warcop Pinfold Cone and it was crafted by Andy Goldsworthy, OBE as part of the Sheepfolds project undertaken by Cumbria County Council in 1996 as part of the UK Year of Visual Arts. The project ended in 2003.

The idea behind the cones was specific to the pinfolds around Kirkby Stephen with the inspiration coming from Nine Standards Rigg at the summit of Hartley Fell.

Then I learnt about Pounds and Pinfolds.

The village pound was not somewhere for a kindly neighbour to pop a stray animal. It was a Pinfold and if one of your animals was found munching on grass that it had no right to be grazing on, into the Pinfold it would go and you couldn't have it back until you paid a fine to the Pinder who was an officer of the Lord of the Manor. The Pinder was, essentially, the Poundkeeper. So much for neighbourly love.

Today, these pounds and pinfolds are no longer used for their original purpose but new uses have been found for many of them and there is further information about this on the Pounds and Pinfolds pages that I have linked to above. One such use is to house the wonderful sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy, it just seems a pity that his work stands anonymously.

Our village pound stands next to what used to be the Manor House and has a 'pound within a pound'. It is larger that the Warcop Pinfold; maybe this village had more naughty animals?

Going back to the Sheepfolds project. A sheepfold is the same as a Pinfold, but different. The construction is often the same but sheepfolds are usually found on the fells either on the open fell or in the corner of a field. These are used for shelter for the sheep and to help the shepherd to control his sheep.

Pinfolds, pounds and sheepfolds are not unique to Cumbria and the Pounds and Pinfolds website is compiling a National Register. I am certainly going to be keeping my eyes peeled to see if I can spy some more as we explore our new home.

10 comments:

  1. Wow that was so interesting I'm glad you found out what is was and posted your findings on here. Is that where the saying 'pound for pound' comes from?

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    1. Thanks Paula. That's an interesting thought, I need to find out! :)

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  2. What an interesting post about something which is all new to me! Flighty xx

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    1. It's new to me as well, although I did know about sheepfolds. I'm glad that you found it interesting, I hope to find out more about our village pound too!

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  3. I've never hear of pounds and pinfolds before, I shall be clicking on the links to see what I can learn.

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    1. There are probably some in your neck of the woods Jo :)

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  4. A fascinating and informative post! It's always fun to find an oddity and then discover its purpose... Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your new location.

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  5. How fascinating - I love these ancient oddities - it's interesting to find out all about the history of the place you live in.

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  6. Ha! Very interesting. I'm so happy I happened upon your blog.

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  7. Ha! Very interesting. I'm so happy I happened upon your blog.

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