Leading building products manufacturer Forterra, which has a brickworks in Kirton, Nottinghamshire, has donated £1,000 towards Kirton Parish Council for the restoration of a historic pinfold in the village as part of its Community Fund scheme.
Dating from approximately Anglo-Saxon times right up until the industrialisation of agriculture, pinfolds were gated enclosures housing animals that had wandered astray. These animals would be supplied with food, drink, and bedding until they were reclaimed. If the animal had not been reclaimed after three weeks, the local parish could then sell it, with the funds set aside for reinvestment into the parish church.
Kirton, a runner-up for best-kept village 2018 awards, has an old and crumbling pinfold situated below a small cliff, with the Kirton Parish Church positioned on the clifftop, making for a picturesque and dramatic scene. Following reconstruction work enabled by Forterra’s recent donation, the village council hope to restore the pinfold and reconnect the village with its history.
Forterra’s donation will go towards hiring a specialist stonemason capable of repairing the historic walls of the pinfold. Originally composed of waterstone gathered from local riverbeds, the pinfold walls represent specialist feats of stonemasonry from centuries ago, and require modern experts for proper restoration.
In addition to helping the council hire a specialist stonemason, Forterra has also supplied a number of bricks to rebuild the back wall of the pinfold, which is a more recent addition composed of modern redbrick.
“There have been lots of beautifully restored pinfolds in our local area,” says Kate Hall, Clerk of Kirton Parish Council and one of the main organisers of the pinfold restoration project. “Laxton on one side has a lovely pinfold, and so does Wellow on the other. We hope that once the Kirton pinfold has been restored, visitors will be keen to view all three as part of a walking tour of the wider area and its rich history.”
“This is very much a project with community at its heart,” says Kate. “The whole village has come together to get involved with clearing the area ahead of reconstruction. We’ve had a local farmer use his loader to dispatch felled trees from the area, and we’re looking to get students from Ollerton’s nearby construction college involved in some of the work too.
“I think there’s a powerful feeling of connection to our past here. The pinfold once operated as the central hub of medieval villages; now it’s once again bringing Kirton residents together as we collectively work to restore it.
“The final project will see modern and historical manufacturing techniques and materials combined, cementing a connection between the village’s past and present, as we look towards the future.
“Ideally, this will become a place of reflection and meditation; a portal into the past where visitors can contemplate the strange differences and striking similarities to our historic forebears.”
Caroline Wildman, Forterra’s Marketing Director, said, “We’re delighted to be able to help out with this community project. It’s great to see the ways in which restoration work like this can really bring a community together, and we can’t wait to see the finished project.
“The Forterra Community Fund provides support for a variety of worthy causes across the country. We welcome applications that seek to make a difference to the local community.”
The Forterra Community Fund gives charities, clubs, groups and societies the opportunity to apply for funding or building products to be used in projects that make a positive contribution to their local community.
To apply to the fund, please visit https://www.forterra.co.uk/about-us/community/community-fund/.