Ancient Monuments

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Dovecote 70m south west of South Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Letwell, Rotherham

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Latitude: 53.376 / 53°22'33"N

Longitude: -1.1557 / 1°9'20"W

OS Eastings: 456267.107088

OS Northings: 386897.896265

OS Grid: SK562868

Mapcode National: GBR NYCD.LJ

Mapcode Global: WHDDV.6DYS

Entry Name: Dovecote 70m south west of South Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016548

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29945

County: Rotherham

Civil Parish: Letwell

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Firbeck with Letwell

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument includes the standing and below ground remains of Letwell
dovecote. The dovecote stands in isolation in a field and is Listed Grade II.
It is octagonal in plan and is constructed of red brick on a stone plinth.
There is a doorway in the south east side with a dressed stone surround and a
keyed lintel (cut to imitate an arch). This is the only opening in the lower
level of the dovecote. The first floor level is marked by a string course
(moulding) which runs around all sides of the monument. Above the string
course on each face is a round arched recess, and the ones above the door, and
on the next face to the right, have pigeon holes through which birds could
gain access to the dovecote. The roof is hipped with lead ridges and a wooden
louvred cupola which contains flight holes and a weather vane. The roof has
stone slate eaves but is capped with tiles.
Inside the dovecote each wall is lined by tiers of square headed nesting holes
made of painted red clay. The resting holes are set into brick-built segmental
arches. The two upper tiers of nest holes in each arch have their own
continuous alighting edge made of tile. For the lower tier the brick arches
beneath double as alighting edges.
The interior also retains its wooden potence (a revolving structure) and
ladder which was used to collect eggs at all levels within the dovecote
without having to touch the nests. There is also a display cabinet containing
information and pictures of the dovecote set into one wall.
The dovecote, which was renovated in 1984, is believed to be a late 18th
century replacement of an earlier dovecote. A title deed dated March 1676/77,
recording the sale of Firbeck to Johnathon Staniforth, documents dovecotes at
both Firbeck Hall and Letwell.
The display cabinet is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 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 standing and buried remains of Letwell dovecote, 70m south west of South
Farm, are particularly well preserved. It is a very good example of a late
18th century dovecote with unusual interior features. Taken as a whole Letwell
dovecote will enhance our understanding of the construction and use of
dovecotes in the area and their position in the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
British Dovecote Society, , Letwell Dovecote

Source: Historic England

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