Last night on Twitter, I was complaining about slugs snacking on my tomato plants. Down at the allotments, we are all in competition with rabbits, pigeons and field mice as to who gets to the fruit and veg first. Thankfully, I do not also have to contend with cattle, as people in years gone by did! Stray animals were a serious threat to food production and so pinfolds and pounds were erected, where the rogue livestock could be impounded. The animals would be released to their owners on payment of a fine, although there were stories of animals mysteriously disappearing from the pounds overnight….! In England in Particular’s section on pinfolds, they liken the animals to today’s wrongly parked cars! (1)
Here in Lichfield in the 1500s, the person responsible for rounding up and impounding the animals was the ‘Warden of the Fields’. By the mid 1600s, the job title had changed to ‘Pinner’. Two Pinners were elected in Lichfield, with one taking responsibility for St Chad’s parish and the other St Michael’s parish. They were appointed at the ancient manorial court of St George, which still takes place every year.
We are lucky to have a well preserved pinfold here in Lichfield, located at Pinfold Road (where else?), where Beacon St becomes the Stafford Rd. The listed building description says the present structure dates to the 18th century, but that it has earlier origins. According to the County History, there was an earlier pinfold in Beacon Street by 1645, near the corner of the later Anson Avenue. This was removed in 1809 and replaced by the Stafford Rd pinfold.
The County History also says that another pinfold stood at Greenhill in 1498 and it is thought it was relocated in the early 19th century to the junction of Broad Lane and Boley Lane. I have had a look at www.old-maps.co.uk and the Boley pinfold can be seen on a 1955 map of Lichfield, but has disappeared by 1966. Sadly, no trace of it exists. The Greenhill pinfold can still be seen on John Snape’s 1781 plan of Lichfield .
The terms pounds and pinfolds both seem to be used interchangeably in Lichfield, although pounds is the more common of the two. A fantastic website called Pounds and Pinfolds has been set up, the intention of which “is to raise awareness of these modest buildings by identifying all of the surviving examples, recording their location and condition and encouraging their restoration or preservation”. Our pinfold doesn’t feature on the National Register that the website is compiling, so I’m sending details over to them for inclusion.
|This little fellow must have been rounded up last night….|