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image by James Turner

Kenilworth Pound

Category:  Heritage

image by James Turner
image by James Turner

The word pound comes from the Saxon word “Pund”, meaning enclosure. Pounds are known to date from the medieval period and nearly every village once had its own animal pound into which stray animals were driven and kept at the expense of the owner, until such time as he paid the fine. This was an amount claimed by the person onto whose land the animals had strayed, for damage done. A feeding and watering fee were also due to the pound keeper. If unclaimed after three weeks, the impounded animals were driven to the nearest market and sold, the proceeds going to the impounder and pound-keeper.

This pound, in the old High Street, was one of two Pounds in Kenilworth (the other was close to the Clock Tower in Abbey End). Most of what remains today is thought to date from the 16th and 17th centuries. By 1888 the practice of impounding was pretty much obsolete as when the Enclosure Acts came into being in the 18th century, over the next hundred years animals were increasingly enclosed into fields by their owners, so pounds were no longer required.

Until 2012 a former Town Mayor, Jack Bastock, had maintained the Pound beside his house on the High Street. On his death, ownership reverted to Warwick District Council which decided to keep it as a community site. The Kenilworth Civic Society pushed for its restoration and it was officially opened in 2015.