Historical Context


The pinfold’s primary purpose, when first built, was to secure stray animals, until an owner came forward to claim them.  A fine was usually payable. More recently, at the beginning of the 20th Century, pinfolds in the Staffordshire Moorlands were sometimes used as cattle gathering points, prior to animals being walked to market.  In the absence of mechanised transport, several farmers would walk their stock down to the village pinfold, some leaving them there overnight, to join up with others before setting off to market on foot early the following morning.  Later, use of cattle trucks led to pinfolds falling into decline.    Following its demise, the Whiston pinfold was filled in by unknown persons and today is only visible as a grassy mound and remnants of stone walls.  Old maps suggest the pinfold was built between 1839 and 1864.


Ordnance Survey Maps

The main documentary evidence showing the existence of a pinfold is a series of Ordnance Survey Maps:-

  1. 1924 Scale 1:2500 square boundary shown without notation
  2. 1899-1900 Scale 1:2500 records a “pinfold” square in shape
  3. 1879-1881 Scale 1:2500 records a “sheepfold” square in shape

 Whiston Tithe Maps  – The 1814 map held at the Staffordshire Records Office does not record a pinfold structure, suggesting it was built after that date.  It shows field number “33”, where the pinfold was eventually built, as owned by the Duke of Devonshire, whose main interest in Whiston was the Copper Smelting Works located approximately 200m from the pinfold site. The tithe award schedule confirms the field was owned by the Duke. The later 1839 tithe amendments map again does not record a pinfold.  The relevant field, on this map re- numbered “266”, is not recorded in the amendments award schedule, suggesting that the field was still in the ownership of the Duke of Devonshire in 1839. Enquiries have been made with the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth Estate Archivist  and the Estate Surveyor but unfortunately neither has found any documents or plans relating to the Whiston Pinfold.

 “The House on the Plain”

A 1997 local history publication by John Williams makes reference to the presence of a pinfold. The book includes an undated photograph of the site accompanied by the author’s notation. The author has been contacted, but has no further useful information to assist with ownership or history of the pinfold.

No other documentary evidence has been found to date.



Land Registry

Enquiries by SCC Highways Authority with the Land Registry (records commencing 1862) reveal no current owner of the site is registered.  SCC Highways also confirm the pinfold site is not part of the highway, but that they do own the triangular area of grass between the pinfold and the junction of the two carriageways.


Deeds of adjoining property

The two carriageways of Black Lane and Ashbourne Road (A52) bound the pinfold site on three sides.  The fourth south-westerly side is bounded by the garden of “Hyning”, a private dwelling house.  The deeds of that property make no reference to ownership of the pinfold and confirm that the pinfold site is not within that property boundary.


Kingsley Parish Council Records

No record of the pinfold has been found in surviving Kingsley Parish Council documentation  held at Staffordshire Record Office relating to the affairs of Whiston village in the Parish of Kingsley in the 19th & 20th Centuries. The parish officials, who would originally have been responsible for the pinfold, have been superseded by the parish council, who by either design or default have adopted the site through actions of regular grass mowing maintenance over many years.


Site Status

The County Archaeologist confirms the site is not scheduled and neither is it in a conservation area.