Ancient Monuments

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Dovecote at Hawley Manor

A Scheduled Monument in Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley, Kent

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Latitude: 51.4263 / 51°25'34"N

Longitude: 0.2264 / 0°13'35"E

OS Eastings: 554884.255068

OS Northings: 172048.351807

OS Grid: TQ548720

Mapcode National: GBR VJ.V1Y

Mapcode Global: VHHP0.WD2Y

Entry Name: Dovecote at Hawley Manor

Scheduled Date: 30 January 1948

Last Amended: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016495

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31412

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Sutton At Hone St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


The monument includes a dovecote situated within the grounds of Hawley Manor
on the northern edge of Hawley village, around 2km south of Dartford. The
dovecote has been dated by its architectural features to the early 17th
century (a plaque on the north eastern dormer window inscribed with the date
1556 is believed to be a 20th century insertion). The square, north east-south
west aligned building has sides measuring 7m in length, and is constructed of
red brick laid in English bond. It is topped by a pyramidal clay-tiled roof,
lit by Dutch-style dormer windows on three sides. This is surmounted by a
glazed lantern below a large, ogee-shaped cupola decorated with carved wooden
corner pendants. Other external architectural details include a mid-height
string course, leaded lights with coloured glass and a moulded wooden eaves

The position of now removed, later lean-to garden structures is indicated by
areas of render covering the lower courses of the north western and part of
the south western walls. Access for humans is through a central, studded oak
plank door through the north eastern wall. Built within the lime washed
interior walls are 549 integral nesting boxes, many edged with a parapet to
prevent the young birds from falling out. Below each row is a brick ledge
which functioned as an alighting platform. Human access to the nesting boxes
is by way of a wooden peg ladder leading up to two sets of beams fixed into
the walls. A further peg ladder gives access to trap doors at the base of the
lantern. At the centre of the brick floor is a square recess, interpreted as
the setting for a now removed water tank.

The building remained in use as a dovecote until 1939. The cupola was renewed
in 1922, and further repair work was carried out to the building after fire
damage in 1970. The dovecote is Listed Grade II*.

Those parts of the later, Grade II Listed garden boundary walls and gateway
which abut the north eastern and south eastern corners of the dovecote and
which fall within the monument's protective margin, are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Dovecotes are specialised structures designed for the breeding and keeping of
doves as a source of food and as a symbol of high social status. Most
surviving examples were built in the period between the 14th and the 17th
centuries, although both earlier and later examples are documented. They were
generally freestanding structures, square or circular in plan and normally of
brick or stone, with nesting boxes built into the internal wall. They were
frequently sited at manor houses or monasteries. Whilst a relatively common
monument class (1500 examples are estimated to survive out of an original
population of c.25,000), most will be considered to be of national interest,
although the majority will be listed rather than scheduled. They are also
generally regarded as an important component of local distinctiveness and

The dovecote at Hawley Manor is a fine example of a post-medieval, ornamental
dovecote and survives particularly well in mostly original condition. It
incorporates high quality, unusual architectural details and retains rare
internal features, including nest parapets, wooden access ladders and beams,
and the water trough setting.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Caiger, J E L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in Two Kent Pigeon Houses, , Vol. 89, (1974), 33-41

Source: Historic England

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