King Arthur's Hall
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006706
Date first listed: 26-Nov-1928
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish: St. Breward
National Grid Reference: SX 12963 77652
Animal pound known as King Arthur’s Hall.
Reasons for Designation
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 pound breach. 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. The animal pound known as King Arthur’s Hall survives well and includes many original features such as paving and a possible water supply and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, date, use, abandonment, agricultural practices and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 December 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes an animal pound situated on the upper west facing slopes of King Arthur’s Down. The pound survives as a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 47m long by 20m wide defined by an earth and stone bank with an inner orthostatic face of up to 6m wide and 1.7m high. Some of the orthostats are up to 1.8m high and most are leaning, recumbent or partially buried. A small area of paving is visible against the inside of the northern bank. There is a possible entrance in the south west corner. Norden first reported the pound in 1584 and since then it has been re-surveyed and recorded several times from Lewis in 1896 to the Cornwall Archaeological Unit in 1987. It has been compared to Neolithic earthworks in Ireland and crematoria in Brittany and has been variously attributed to the Neolithic (Barnatt), as a Roman Camp and most recently as early medieval hundred drift pound by Herring.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: CO 81
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-433143
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing