Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Historical Titbits

Number One: Pilling Pinfold

In one corner of Pilling village green (if you can call it a green, but let’s not go there) stands the pinfold. It was ‘rebuilt’ at great expense by Pilling Parish Council, the original stones being recycled in its reconstruction, although nowadays it’s only two thirds the size of the original. (Presumably the missing third is holding up some farmer’s kitchen extension.)
There’s a blue plaque attached to it that reads:
"This pinfold was built on the original site by the Parish Council with funds provided by Lancashire Rural Action For The Environment."
The earlier, somewhat fatter, pinfold was recorded on a map of 1734. Later, on the First Edition Ordnance Survey, it’s referred to as the ‘pound’. The words ‘pinfold’ and ‘pound’ stem from the same Saxon root, apparently, that being ‘Pundfald’, meaning a ‘lock-up for stray animals’.
In 1805 the following charges were levied for the release of stray animals impounded in the pinfold, a quarter of a penny per goose, one penny per pig, tuppence per sheep, three pence per calf, and four-pence for a cow or horse.
Despite the pinfold’s existence, nomadic beasts were obviously a problem round Pilling, the manorial court in 180
7 passing the following byelaw:
"We the jurors to remedy the evils aforesaid do make, ordain, order, adjudge and determine that no person whomsoever shall in future turn any swine, horses, cows or other cattle or any geese into or upon any of the highways within the said manor or permit or suffer the same to pasture or to be there on any account whatsoever between the hours of six o’clock in the morning and six o’clock at night and on no part of the day or night unless the same be taken care of and tended by some old person to be hired at the expense of the owners of the goods for that purpose, but we strictly order and direct that no child or children shall on any account or under any pretence be permitted to look after such cattle in as much as such practice tend to hurt the morals of youth and bring them up in sloth and idleness."

Number Two: Life Before the New Cleveleys Indoor Market

This is a photograph of Woodbine Cottage, close to Victoria Square in Cleveleys. Fylde and Wyre residents reading this might already have guessed that it no longer exists.

Following the cottage’s demolition a succession of businesses occupied the site, including in the 1920s and 1930s Beanland’s Pavilion and Pym’s Bus Service, later the B.O.C. car showroom (the initials of which, incidentally, stood for Blackburn, Oldham and Cleveleys). Nowadays it’s an indoor market.
Just to prove that we’re not making any of this up, the following photograph shows the aforementioned Beanland’s Pavilion and Pym’s Bus Service.

Beanland’s Pavilion advertised in the 1913 Cleveleys brochure that:
‘During the season the management have the pleasure in announcing all the latest cinema photoplays. In addition, Mr. Beanland secures the services of a first-class concert party. If you spend your holiday in Cleveleys, you may be sure your amusements will be second to none.’
Apparently Mr. Beanland was also a renowned drag queen. I can’t remember where I read that now, but before any surviving members of the Beanland family decide to take me to court, I’m absolutely certain that I read it somewhere so it must be true.

Number Three: Mounting Steps

These are ‘mounting steps’ attached to the side of a cobble-built cottage down Raikes Road in Stanah. (Editor's note: Sorry information about the cottage itself. I'll set Michelle onto it at some point though.)

They’re so called because in times long past anybody attempting to mount a horse that was a bit on the large size could gain a height advantage.
They’re attached to what presumably is a flying buttress, added to the ancient cottage to prevent it from collapsing.
The ‘niche’ cut into the steps was probably put there for the milkman (although I wouldn’t swear to that). Alternatively it might have been the letter box or something. Suggestions on the back of a ten pound note to the usual address please.

Addendum: Just wanted to add another photograph, this time showing the entire cottage as taken last May by John Davis-Allen (Wyre Archaeology Expert in Building Techniques). According to Melanie's site the cottage is called 'Abbeystead', although nobody really knows why. John has suggested that the steps were originally used for a milk churn shelf, an idea backed up by Jame
s's comment over at the Thornton Through Time Blogger Board. (Melanie, by one of those odd coincidences that happen from time to time, happened to post her own photograph of the steps just before I did).
James also remembers using the steps himself in his younger days to get on and off shire horses. So there you go...


John said...

That niche looks like it could have fit a wooden beam, although I don't know why they'd put a beam in the road, unless it was a 'break' to keep the horse from moving? You'll have to investigate that whilst you investigate said cottage.

Interesting bit about the pinfold, especially the laws to avoid 'aforesaid evil' from wandering animals. I guess you could call it an evil, depending on what said pig or cow had eaten before creating said evil.

I do wonder how the responsibility of watching after cattle could lead children to sloth and laziness? maybe it's a case of Monkey see, monkey do. :0)


Jayne said...

Coincidentally Feral Beast has recently come across a great deal of the near-by South Yarra Pound in his research for his uni assignment, though it certainly wasn't anything near as pretty as the Pilling Pinfold.

Of course Woodbine Cottage is gone...nothing as picturesque as that should be allowed to exist in peace (according to Progress).

The mounting steps - how much has the road built up over the years? That niche looks like a short-cut toe-hold for ladies/climbing into carriages but the road surface may have come up to make it appear closer to the ground than it actually was, judging by the height of that first step.

Andrew said...

Mounting steps. Somewhere in the back of my brain I remember seeing a similar set of steps and wondering what they were for. Stairway to nowhere.

Jayne said...

Staring blankly at that pic of the mounting steps again (as I've nothing better to do today) I've noticed there's a straight recessed edge on the left side of that niche, as if for a small door - milk bottle delivery might be more plausible, after all!

Brian Hughes said...

John,"I don't know why they'd put a beam in the road..."

An early form of sleeping policeman to slow the sheep down?"I do wonder how the responsibility of watching after cattle could lead children to sloth and laziness?"

That depends on whether the said cattle was sitting on them at the time or not.

"I've noticed there's a straight recessed edge on the left side of that niche, as if for a small door ..."

Possibly an entrance for pigmys? Somewhere for the ducks to shelter when it was raining? I suspect the niche was cut into the steps at a later date. From what I can gather it's been filled in again since the photo was taken.

"I remember seeing a similar set of steps and wondering what they were for."

See...the educational value of this board alone is worth the amount it costs to run.

Jayne said...

Nah, it's the hidden entrance to the Fairy Dell hence it was filled in once you'd noticed it.

JahTeh said...

Do you know how hard it is to say 'Pilling Pinfold' if your teeth aren't stuck in proper?

Brian Hughes said...


More likely to have been a gnome's residence, because there isn't much room inside it. (See...much room...mushroom...I could have worked for Cannon and Ball, I tell y'!)


Imagine how hard it is for the actual residents of Pilling to say it then.

History Hunter said...

At first I was thinking of the steps as being a poncy extravagance for the upper classes until James mentioned the Shire horses which would make them a necessity.

Especially for someone like myself who could probably walk clean under a Shire without touching it!

Brian Hughes said...


I'm sure you can get arrested for that sort of thing, whether you touch it or not.

History Hunter said...

I'll just go and line up those pins shall I ;-)

Brian Hughes said...

Absolutely...and I'll keep knockin' down.

Reuben said...

Excellent scenery.

Brian Hughes said...

That's Stanah that is, Reuben...where I grew up. Lots of history and bunnies. Pity I can't afford to buy a cottage there nowadays...although Fleetwood isn't bad either.

Jayne said...

What a lovely cottage in a beautiful setting!
You can keep the bunnies, Brian, there's only so much rabbit pie we Aussies can eat :P

Brian Hughes said...


It's amazing what you can do with a bunny. Rabbit pie, rabbit fricase, Welsh rabbit, thermal socks, a furry hat for winter, christmas decorations....

Jayne said...

Speaking of bunnies...I've fallen in love with this stunning dish they've unearthed in East London.
Yes, I know it's not in your backyard but it's just gorgeous!

Oh, the polo-mint-henge ...there was a similar one found on TT (gawd knows what year) covered in white clay with the causeway acting as a corridore towards the henge on top of the hill which would have glowed in the moonlight and been visible for miles around.

Brian Hughes said...

Bloody Eastenders!"...there was a similar one found on TT (gawd knows what year) covered in white clay..."

There you go. Bet there was a reason for it, other than just making it more obvious in the landscape.