History of Pinfold
The Heath Pinfold project was conceived to renovate the existing Pinfold which lies just outside the village near to the car park at the centre of the 105 acre common which Heath lies within.
There was local concern that this piece of local history should not be allowed to disappear and it should be restored and promoted as part of our local heritage. The Pinfold would, without intervention, disintegrate into its surroundings.
Its progress from a tipping site to its present form has been a long, and at times difficult, project to complete, however the resolve of everybody involved has brought it to fruition. This idea of its restoration was first raised at a Residents Association meeting in September 2000 when the rubbish which was accumulating from fly tipping was discussed. A number of residents were unaware as to what a pinfold was; this became the basis for its restoration.
The project had the full backing of the Residents Association and although we are not a wealthy association there were offers of support for the project in the form of labour and gifts to assist in its restoration.
The restoration project was promulgated throughout the parish through the Residents Association and the Parish/Church magazine; this reached most houses within the community. Pledges of help came from a number of residents who will support the project to its completion; this will include ground clearing, stone sorting, fence erection and other roles to enable completion of the project. The Pinfold was researched further with local Historians and the Archaeological Department of the local District council but other than most villages in the area having Pinfolds no other information was forthcoming.
Exploratory inroads were made with both the local and district councils to assess what level of support could be called upon. It soon became apparent that funding from either of these sources would not be realised, and that if the project was to proceed then external funding would have tobe sought. After considering options an application was eventually made to the Local Heritage Initiative which is a partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nationwide Building Society and The Countryside Agency.
The project did get offers of support in the form of advice, and to include the restoration project on the parish and local council websites, these have been accepted in principal and although they cannot be involved in its restoration both councils are supporting our aim.
The final outcome of the project will see a restored feature which if not preserved would fall into a state which would be beyond restoration. The pinfold appears to be quite special in so far as it was constructed from locally quarried Yorkshire stone built into a hillside and the research undertaken by us reveal stone Pinfolds of this nature to be quite rare.
The pinfold will feature in local information about the village along with it also being placed on the internet. The project will generate new skills for the volunteers as part of the restoration which will involve a skill transfer as part of the project from a specialist’s craftsperson involved in the restoration. It is hoped that the work we are undertaking will in itself exceed the ten year maintenance plan required by LHI but equally so the project will be overseen long term by the Residents Association and any maintenance will be undertaken as required to maintain the feature.
The village of Heath, a Conservation Area, is mainly comprised of houses built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. From the 1600s, one family of woolstaplers, the Smyths, became the dominant landowners in the village. They were unsuccessful in their attempt to enclose the common in the 1840s, and the village has retained its 'open' character ever since.
An historic feature which has been renovated by the members of Heath Residents Association (HRA). A pinfold has been in the village since it’s early days, tended by a ‘Pinder’ who would seize stray animals not bearing the mark of his employer, The Lord of the Manor. The Pinder would enclose the stray livestock within the Pinfold until it was claimed and a fee paid for the animals release
“ I remember well the Pinfold being in use, its foundations until recently still being identifiable at the southern end of the car park. This was a circular pen without a roof built on the hillside and formed a pit from the higher level of about seven feet deep with a door on the lower side of the hill at ground level. The last Pinder was a Mr Walker whose job it was to lock up unauthorised animals grazing on the common, the major culprits usually being Gypsy travellers” A description of the Pinfold at Heath taken from the Book ‘THE TIME OF OUR LIVES IN HEATH’ Published by Heath Residents Association. 2000 AD.