By Dr Deric Charlton
The pinfold or village pound is better known on Tyneside as the 'poond' or the 'pundfald'. The one in Ryton village has been well cared for for probably 200 years or more, and you can see from my photo taken in 2005, that some cement has helped keep the dry-walling stones and the coping stone in place and secure from rockery lovers.
The term 'Pinfold' is of Saxon origin and they appeared in Medieval Britain to impound stray livestock which strayed from farms and from common grazings. Stock found grazing on commons illegally were taken off and impounded. A fine or 'mulct' had to be paid for their release.
There would be few other places in Northumberland or Durham where the village pound is still in such good order, and is a feature of the village.