Five Things to look for in Villages

Here are some suggestions for things to look out for in villages. Unlike towns they tend to evolve more slowly over time and may retain things already swept away in towns.

  • The village lock-up. In times past those apprehended for a crime had to be taken to nearby towns to appear before a magistrate. Criminals were kept in a small cell known as a lock-up overnight. Names vary around the country and include cage, blind house, round house and guard house.
  • The village stocks. Used as a form of punishment for many centuries the stocks may also have a whipping post attached.
  • The village pound. When stock was grazed on open fields and common land stray animals could be a problem within a community. Stray animals were confined in a small enclosure called a pound (or pinfold) and the owner of the livestock had to pay a fine for the release of their animals. A local official called a pounder, poundsman, pinder or hayward was in charge of this process.
  • A village sign. Decorative village signs have been around in East Anglia for a century and have now spread to most parts of England with a few in Wales and Scotland. Apart from the name the signs may illustrate local crafts or customs, legends or heroes. Unique to their location these should not be confused with the signs erected at the entrance to villages by the local council although some of these may include decorative features.

  • A village pond. The pond served to refresh animals and may be used in other ways too. Today ponds form attractive features attracting wildlife and water plants.
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