Willsworthy Pound adjacent to Willsworthy Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020010

Date first listed: 05-Jan-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Apr-2001


Ordnance survey map of Willsworthy Pound adjacent to Willsworthy Bridge
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2018 at 11:06:45.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Peter Tavy

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 53369 81675


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 poundbreach. 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. All examples surviving in good condition, particularly those supported by historical evidence for ownership and function, are considered worthy of protection.

Willsworthy Pound survives well and contains archaeological and environmental information about its construction and use. Small manor pounds such as this one are considered rare on the Moor and contain vital information relating to the management of animals during the medieval period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes an animal pound situated within a shallow valley next to a stream leading to the River Tavy. The pound survives as a`D'-shaped walled structure measuring 9.5m north east to south west by 7.7m north west to south east internally. The structure is denoted by a substantial drystone wall composed mainly of large boulders. The wall is up to 1.8m high by 1.5m wide and a 1m wide gap in the north eastern side denoted by large orthostats represents an original entrance. The pound lies adjacent to the Lich Way, which may in some way explain its siting. More significantly, however, its proximity to a manor house has led to the structure being traditionally described as the Manor Pound of Willsworthy.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24107

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW20, (1982)

End of official listing