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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Pound (Enclosure)

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POUND." (I) An enclosure in which cattle or other animals are retained until redeemed by the owners, or when taken in distraint until replevised, such retention being in the nature of a pledge or security to compel satisfaction for debt or damage done. Animals may be seized and impounded when (I) distrained for rent; (2) damage feasant, i.e. doing harm on the land of the person seizing; (3) straying; (4) taken under legal process. A pound belongs to the township or village or manor where it is situated. The pound-keeper is obliged to receive everything offered to his custody and is not answerable if the thing offered be illegally impounded.

By a statute of 1554, no distress of cattle can be driven out of the hundred where taken unless to a pound in the same county, within three miles of the place of seizure. This statute also fixes 4d. as the fee for impounding a distress. Where cattle are impounded the impounder is bound to supply them with sufficient food and water (Cruelty to Animals Acts 1849 and 1854) any person, moreover, is authorized to enter a place where animals are impounded without food and water more than twelve hours and supply them; and the cost of such food is to be paid by the owner of the animal before it is removed. A statute of 1690 gives treble damages and costs against persons guilty of pound breach; and by statute of 1843 (Pound Breach) persons releasing or attempting to release cattle impounded or damaging any pound are liable to a fine not exceeding £5, awardable to the person on whose behalf the cattle were distrained, with imprisonment with hard labour in default. In the old law books 1 Pound, in sense (I), is represented late in O.E. by the compounds pund fold and pund-breche and by the derivative pyndan, to dam up, enclose, and for-pyndan, to shut out. The origin is unknown; " pen," an enclosure, is from a different root; " pond " a small pool of water, is a Middle English variant of " pound." In sense (2) the O.E. and M.E. pund, Du. pond, Ger. Pfund, are derivatives of the Lat. indeclinable substantive pondo - really an ablative singular as if from pondus (2nd declension) - a variant of pondus, ponderis, weight. The Lat. pondo is used as a shortened form of libra pondo, pound by weight. Finally is the verb " to pound," to crush by beating, to strike or beat; this in O.E. is punian, the d being excrescent as in " sound," noise. The word is rare outside English; cf. Mod. Du. puin, rubbish, broken stone.

varieties of pounds - as a common pound, an open pound and a close pound - are enumerated. By the Distress for Rent Act 1 737 any person distraining for rent may turn any part of the premises into a pound pro hac vice for securing the distress. Pounds are not now much used. (F. WA.)

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Pound (Enclosure)'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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