Ancient Monuments

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Dovecote at Great Eccleston, 150m north east of Gradwells

A Scheduled Monument in Great Eccleston, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.8534 / 53°51'12"N

Longitude: -2.8744 / 2°52'27"W

OS Eastings: 342576.344555

OS Northings: 440044.777096

OS Grid: SD425400

Mapcode National: GBR 8RCW.HD

Mapcode Global: WH854.TDDQ

Entry Name: Dovecote at Great Eccleston, 150m north east of Gradwells

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1972

Last Amended: 17 June 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016757

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32820

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Great Eccleston

Built-Up Area: Great Eccleston

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Copp or Great Eccleston St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes a 17th century brick-built slate-roofed dovecote
surmounted by a later wooden square cupola or lantern. It is located in a
field to the south west of Great Eccleston village 150m north east of
Gradwells. The dovecote measures 4.7m square with a door on the north east
side and a window above. Both door and window have arched lintels of vertical
bricks and the doorway has jambs of rounded brick edges with inset dressed
stone blocks for the door hinges and catch. Traces of an external string
course survive, formed of a double course of brick tiles projecting from the
walls about halfway up. This is said to be a `rat course' designed to prevent
rats and other predators climbing the vertical walls and entering via the
flight holes which would have been located in the lantern on top of the roof.
This string course would have also functioned as a sunning ledge and perch for
the doves. Internally there are ten rows of brick nest boxes each originally
having nine boxes to each row. However, later modifications to the dovecote
have disturbed a small number of these nest boxes. The dovecote is a Grade II
Listed Building.

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

Despite some disturbance to the monument's nest boxes caused by later
modifications, the dovecote at Great Eccleston 150m north east of Gradwells
survives reasonably well and remains a good example of this class of monument.
It is a rare survival in Lancashire of a brick-built 17th century dovecote.

Source: Historic England


LB No. 281/5/10001, DOE, List of Buildings of Historical & Architectural Importance, (1998)
OAU MPP Dovecote Assessment, Oxford Archaeological Unit, Dovecote, Great Eccleston, (1998)
SMR No. 3693, Lancashire SMR, Great Eccleston Dovecot, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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