TAKE A LOOK AT... (in Derbyshire)

This is a copy of an article published in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 5th April 2004 (p45), reproduced by kind permission of its author, Julie Bunting.

TAKE A LOOK AT: PINFOLDS IN THE PEAK

The name pinfold started out as the Old English ‘pundfald’, made up from two words very similar in meaning: a pound and a fold.

Pinfolds are also known as pounds and are purpose-built enclosures where stray animals used to be kept until reclaimed by their owners, upon payment of a fee to the pinner (or pinder) who was responsible for rounding up any strays.

One of the rules of Wardlow Shepherds' Society was “That all pinders possessing books of sheep marks, if any sheep shall come into their hands belonging to any members of this society, shall inform them of, or take them to their respective owners, who shall pay them reasonably for their trouble.”

Hardly a village in the Peak was without a pinfold. Some have either disappeared completely, in the name of progress, or had sections of their walls incorporated into other boundaries.

Sheen pinfold was dismantled in 1874 having been, together with the stocks, in the care of the parish Constable. Longstone had a pinfold at the bottom of Church Lane until 1906 when it made way for the Social Institute. Road widening claimed the pinfold in Hungry Lane at Bradwell in the early years of this century; a record of 1819 mentions the sum of eight pence being paid for a lock for the Bradwell pinfold gate, and ten shillings to John Cooper for pinning.

AN UNDERSTANDING

A few people might still just be able to point out the sites of Matlock pinfold on Causeway Lane, Bakewell's on the Monyash road, or those of Ible, Harthill or Hartington Dale. At Middleton-by-Wirksworth few may remember when their village pinfold was sold, the site now marked by a garage.

Pinfold housing estate at Tideswell adjoins the site of the old pound which once stood behind the gasworks. The story goes that one villager used to turn his wife's cattle loose deliberately - he had an understanding with the pinner whereby both men shared the release fee to give them some spending money for the wakes. The fee was comparatively high at one shilling per head. The last Tideswell pinner was Joseph Dale, who died in 1953. Two years later the Pinfold playing field and play equipment was purchased by public subscription as a war memorial.

The pinfold at Middleton by Youlgreave was incorporated into the small roofed building seen opposite Rock Farm on Rakes Lane.

The square pound on Winster common still stood until t h e land was sold off by the parish council about forty years ago, whilst that at Wardlow became part of a private garden as late as the 1980s.

PUT TO USE

For those who know where to look, crumbling remains of pinfolds are to be found here and there around the Peak. They can often be identified by a narrow stone entrance in a roadside wall, as at Hassop behind the Hall, or on a quiet lane in Bubnell. Keys inscribed “Bubnell Pound” and “Baslow Pound” are known to have been in local possession into recent times, although the Baslow enclosure made way for houses on School Lane many years ago.

Several pinfolds have fared rather better in that they have been put to some new use. That at Chelmorton is still basically intact.

The pound at West End in Wirksworth is still recognisable, whilst the remaining walls of the one in neighbouring Brassington enclose a small parking area. Brassington pinfold was documented as early as 1663, when a penalty agreed at the Court Leet decreed that “If any person shall neglect to paie the pynners wages after two pence a beaste (as a due to him) shall forfeite for everie beast 4d”.

Youlgreave parish accounts can be relied upon for a reference to almost anything to do with village life, and early 18th- century accounts refer to the payment of three shillings for repairing the pinfold and the sheepwash. Another entry states “that stocks and pinfold for ye future by every respective Hamlett be repaired, and not charged in the township's accounts”. The sturdy old enclosure still stands west of the Methodist church and is currently used for storage.

WELL PRESERVED

Not only is the Hope pinfold amply documented, but the structure itself is very well preserved. Under the terms of an old parish charity the income from land known as Pinder's Meadow provided for a pinfold and a pinner. In 1921, for example, pinner Mr. N. Tym received £2 per annum by letting the meadow.

As recently as 1967 it was recorded that over 300 stray sheep had been impounded at Hope during the year. The release fees of 12½ pence per head in summer and 7½ pence in winter reflected the potential damage that a stray animal could do to summer crops. An additional 1 penny had to be paid to the pinner, plus his expenses in personally informing the owner of his loss - an obligation to ensure that the message was received safely. The fine for illicit retrieval of an animal was £500!

Hope's circular pinfold stands beside Pindale Road. At the other end of Pindale the Castleton pound used to stand on the south side of the road, but any remaining traces are unrecognisable now. Other pinfolds which have been kept in good repair are those of Birchover - alongside the Main Street; Hathersage - on Church Bank; Biggin - beside the road to Hartington; Eyam Woodlands - on Sir William Hill at Grindleford; Curbar - at the bottom of Pinfold Hill; Monyash - on the north side of the village; and Tansley - adjoining the garden of Pinfold Cottage on Thatcher's Lane.

© Julie Bunting
From "The Peak Advertiser", 5th April 2004.

Further Reading:
Baslow Shepherd's Book, 1777
Describes the Sheep Marks of the various Shepherds.

Articles by Julie Bunting are reproduced with her kind permission.

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