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HER Number:MDV6272
Name:Dunnabridge Pound, Dartmoor Forest


Dunnabridge Pound, recorded as early as 1342 but likely to date much earlier than this. It was used for enclosing stock, and may have been built on the site of a prehistoric pound with three hut circles


Grid Reference:SX 646 746
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW22
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443295
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/38
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 92738
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX67SW22

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • POUND (Constructed, Early Bronze Age to Late Medieval - 2200 BC? (Between) to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Swete, R. J. (Revd), 1792-1801, 564M 'Picturesque Sketches of Devon' by Reverend John Swete (Record Office Collection). SDV337942.

Illustrations by Swete. Other details: 17/23.

Wilkinson, J. G., 1862, On British Remains on Dartmoor, 119 (Article in Serial). SDV277122.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Dunnabridge Pound' shown on 19th century map and later early 20th century map.

Collier, W. F., 1887, Venville Rights on Dartmoor, 383 (Article in Serial). SDV346911.

Dunnabridge Pound was the Duchy pound where stray cattle were impounded.

Baring Gould, S., 1900, A Book of Dartmoor, 26 (Monograph). SDV277387.

The Duchy Pound is at Dunnabridge with a curious old seat for the adjudicator of fines and costs.

Lega-Weekes, E., 1904-1905, Dartmoor Notes, 125 (Article in Serial). SDV346915.

Entry in Court Roll of 1547 for repairs to Dunnabridge Pound.

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor (Monograph). SDV320981.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1980, SX67SW22 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV346912.

(27/02/1950) Built on the foundations of an ancient pound. A 0.93 hectare drift pound, known as Dunnabridge Pound, mentioned in 1342 and also in 1660 when expenses are recorded for repairing the "pound walls, gate and stocks at Dunnabridge". The pound may be an adapted Prehistoric feature but there is no proof. Part of the wall is a covered seat.
(18/01/1980) Dunnabridge Pound (name confirmed) measures 115.5m. NW-SE by 106.5m. transversely and is constructed of drystone walling, 1.2m. thick and 1.7m. high, with a southern entrance. The 'covered seat' lies inside just to the west of the entrance. There is no evidence of prehistoric work though the size and plan could suggest early origins. The interior has some boulders, and amorphous mounds which may be the result of clearance.
Revised at 1:10 000 on MSD and at 1:2500 for AO Records.

Worth, R. H., 1953, Dartmoor, 475-7 (Monograph). SDV231148.

A 2.3 acre drift pound, known as Dunnabridge Pound, mentioned in 1342 and also in 1660 when expenses are recorded for repairing the "Pound walls, gate and stocks at Dunnabridge". The pound may be adapted prehistoric feature but there is no proof. Part of the wall is a covered seat.

Fogwill, E. G., 1954, Pastoralism on Dartmoor, 105 (Article in Serial). SDV346914.

One of the pounds used to assemble the drifts of livestock on the moor to establish Venville Rights. Still used today as it has been since at least 1342. Formed on the site of an earlier enclosure.

Willmott Dobbie, B. M., 1979, Pounds or Pinfolds and Lockups, 29 (Monograph). SDV21958.

National Monuments Record, 1979, SF1509 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346618.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, Dunnabridge Pound (Worksheet). SDV346913.

This impressive pound is a remodelled Prehistoric enclosure. There are two conjoining hut circles within it, and a possible one against the wall. A bank runs north-east to south-west across the pound. Other details: Sketch.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1982, Dunnabridge Farm (Plan - measured). SDV266230.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 461-2 (Monograph). SDV249702.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Pound visible and recorded but hut circles not visible. The cross bank is clear on AP's, and apparently continues northward beneath the Pound wall to join a rectilinear pattern which might indicate a field system.

Department of Environment, 1987, Lydford, 2 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV266265.

Dunnabrdge Pound was Listed on 28th October 1987. Likely to be a Medieval pound although some rebuilding may have subsequently occurred. Drystone wall constructed of large rough granite blocks in roughly circular plan. Entrance faces present road and is divided by granite monolith into a wider and narrower opening. Immediately to its left inside the pound is a large stone seat integral with the wall with a large granite canopy above providing shelter. This pound is not only very well preserved but it is also important in the context of the history of the moor and its ancient tenements: a document of 1627 records that the tenants of the ancient tenements "have been accustomed time out of mind to make three several drifts yearly for cattle and one for horses depasturing upon the said Forest to Dynabridge pound and are to attend there two or three days and nights for the watering and pasturing of the said Cattle". The tenants who complied with this were given a halfpenny loaf and those who refused were fined 6s 8d. Other details: LBS Number 92738.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit, ?N. V. Quinnell (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(25/02/1988) Dunnabridge Pound occupies 0.9ha on a slight S slope, and is of rather oval form with greatest diameters of 110m by 122m. It is enclosed by a drystone wall 1.9m high and about 1m thick at the base, tapering towards the top. The material is mostly medium size moor stones with some large blocks and upright slabs incorporated at the base. The uneven interior is slightly raised at the southern perimeter and cut into the slope on the north, accompanied by a spread of stones, 1.5m long and 0.3m high, extending from the inner face and up to 0.6m high. The only entrance to be seen is the gated one on the S.
Worth is uncertain, but other writers such as Burnard and Crossing consider the enclosure to have a prehistoric origin, but none noticed the hut circles listed by Greeves, now stripped of stone and rather amorphous features.
SX 64617467. An almost circular turf covered platform which abuts the inner face of the pound wall. Overall it measures 11m E to W and 9m N to S. It is from 0.2m to 0.5m high with a flat top 8m by 6m and a single orthostatic slab on the NW perimeter, 0.6m long 0.2m thick, and 0.3m high.
SX 64647467. A depression 5m in diameter and 0.4m deep with a 1.5m gap on the S, lower side, opening from a level interior. There are traces of a turf covered stone bank on the W side enclosing the depression.
SX 64657458. Adjoining the NE side of the above is a rather ragged circular mound 7.2m in diameter and 0.2m high. Its platform top 4.5m across is encircled by some turf covered stones and a half dozen small recumbent slabs. A narrow hollow in the SW may represent an entrance giving access to the previously mentioned structure which is at a lower level.
The condition of all three is, such as to preclude any firm identification but Greeves' observations cannot be discounted.
The cross wall at SX 64627463 is traceable for 56m, with one 7m gap. Much robbed, it now consists of a turf covered bank 3m wide and 0.3m high, incorporating some large and medium size earthfast stones. The bank starts 30m from the SSW wall of the pound and ends 6m from the NNE side. The short extension outside that appears on the AP is traceable for 20m on the ground, that could relate to a field system.
35m to the SE and 25m to the NW are the remains of two other banks, one 36m long the other 24m long. Both are similar to the bisecting one and almost parallel with it. If these represent former fields they would almost certainly pre-date the fields or the enclosure. The SE bank extends, with breaks, 60m beyond the pound.
Three other items within the pound could be the result of stone gathering. Two mounds of stones, 3.5m, and 5m in diameter and 0.2m to 0.4m high, are at SX 64637462 and a ragged scarp 25m long and 0.4m high occurs at SX 64587463.
At SX 64607457, on the inner face of the pound wall, beside the gateway, is the mis-named Judge's Seat of Judge's Chair.
It consists of two upright slabs 3m apart, each 2.3m high and 0.9m wide, with another massive slab resting upon them to form a roof and another forms the back of the structure. Within, beyond stones forming a threshold step, is the seat, two long blocks 0.4m high resting on a base of small stones. The whole is built onto the pound wall rather than within it.
Worth (1967) implies that it functioned with the Medieval usage of the pound as a bailiff's or officers seat and dismisses Crossings suggestion that the stone's might have come from a 'dolmen'. Both Worth and Crossing (1912) denounce the attribution to the Crockern Tor Tinners' Parliament site and the name Judge's Seat as century fabrication.
Near the seat there was formerly a broken holed stone. Seen and described by Crossing. Worth tentatively suggests that this might have been part of the stocks, mentioned in 1660. There is now no trace of the stone.
A stone trough in the SE part against the wall fed with fresh water from an adjacent wellhead (SX 67 SW 136) first by a leat, later by an iron pipe.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 54-55, Map 28, Site 1 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Dunnabridge Pound was in existence long before it was first mentioned in 1342. In the four annual drifts stock pastured illegally on the east, south and west quarters of the moor were brought to Dunnabridge Pound and owners were fined before livestock could be reclaimed. The present wall closely follows that of its Prehistoric predecessor, which forms its foundation below the downhill section but is visible as a low bank inside the wall around the rest of the perimeter. Centuries of use and probably deliberate clearance have left few traces of the settlement within. Some scattered stony mounds are perhaps the remains of interior walls or dwellings, two of which are still recognisable. A short length of ancient walling descends the slope from the edge of a hut lying a few metres from the eastern perimeter and the circular outline of the second can be distinguished against the north bank.Dunnabridge is the largest of a group of five similar enclosures all within two kilometres and each surrounded by a massive wall with an undivided interior containing very few huts.

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

Dunnabridge Pound was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 2004. Other details: Site 125.

National Monuments Record, 2011, 443295 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346916.

Dunnabridge Pound.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Dunnabridge Pound' shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 54-55, Map 28, Site 1.
SDV21958Monograph: Willmott Dobbie, B. M.. 1979. Pounds or Pinfolds and Lockups. Pounds or Pinfolds and Lockups. Unknown. 29.
SDV231148Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1953. Dartmoor. Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 475-7.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 461-2.
SDV266230Plan - measured: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1982. Dunnabridge Farm. 1:25,000. Plan.
SDV266265List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Lydford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Bound. 2.
SDV277122Article in Serial: Wilkinson, J. G.. 1862. On British Remains on Dartmoor. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 18. Unknown. 119.
SDV277387Monograph: Baring Gould, S.. 1900. A Book of Dartmoor. A Book of Dartmoor. Unknown. 26.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337942Record Office Collection: Swete, R. J. (Revd). 1792-1801. 564M 'Picturesque Sketches of Devon' by Reverend John Swete. Devon Record Office Collection. Unknown + Digital.
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #97081 ]
SDV346618Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1979. SF1509. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV346911Article in Serial: Collier, W. F.. 1887. Venville Rights on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 19. A5 Hardback. 383.
SDV346912Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1980. SX67SW22. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346913Worksheet: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. Dunnabridge Pound. Worksheet.
SDV346914Article in Serial: Fogwill, E. G.. 1954. Pastoralism on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 86. A5 Hardback. 105.
SDV346915Article in Serial: Lega-Weekes, E.. 1904-1905. Dartmoor Notes. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 3. Unknown. 125.
SDV346916National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 443295. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown. ?N. V. Quinnell.

Associated Monuments

MDV54405Parent of: Hut Circle in Dunnabridge Pound (Monument)
MDV54404Parent of: Hut Circle within Dunnabridge Pound (Monument)
MDV54403Parent of: Hut Circle within Dunnabridge Pound, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV6273Parent of: Stone Seat at Dunnabridge Pound, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV15619Related to: Field system around Dunnabridge Farm (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8632 - Sherberton Farm, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8661 - Dunnabridge Pound Farm and Pound, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Jul 16 2022 9:34AM