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Dovecote 85m north of Potters Marston Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Potters Marston, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.563 / 52°33'46"N

Longitude: -1.2678 / 1°16'4"W

OS Eastings: 449731.64825

OS Northings: 296376.624179

OS Grid: SP497963

Mapcode National: GBR 7LX.B9C

Mapcode Global: WHDJN.HVJ1

Entry Name: Dovecote 85m north of Potters Marston Hall

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016792

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30254

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Potters Marston

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Barwell St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

The monument includes a dovecote situated 85m north of Potters Marston Hall.
The dovecote, which is Listed Grade II, is of medieval and later date and
consists of a square tower measuring approximately 4.8m in width and 6m in
height. The external walls are constructed on a rubble plinth and are
comprised of uncoursed granite rubble and dressed granite with later
alterations and repairs in brick and slate. A continuous stone perching ledge
is set at a height of 3m, above which on the eastern, western and southern
sides are windows approximately 0.75m square. Those on the east and west have
segmental brick heads or lintels and have been bricked up. The western window
also has a single diagonally set wooden mullion. The southern window has a
wooden frame and a splayed brick head and is unblocked. Access to the dovecote
is provided by a door set into the base of the eastern wall. The doorway is
approximately 1.5m in height and 0.8m in width with a later segmental brick
head. The pyramidal roof is constructed of Swithland slate, with a square
glover at its apex through which the birds would have entered. The dovecote
has an internal brick wall, into which approximately 700 bottled-shaped
nesting boxes are recessed. Many retain their individual alighting steps which
consist of bricks projecting longitudinally from their base.

The dovecote is situated immediately south of the site of a moat which
originally enclosed the medieval manor house and chapel. The moat has since
been infilled but the chapel and manor house, now Potters Marston Hall, still
survive with extensive rebuilding. The construction of the dovecote suggests
that it was probably contemporary with the earliest surviving sections of the
hall, which have been dated to the late 15th or early 16th centuries and use
identical materials. The first documentary reference to the dovecote is
contained within an Inquisition Post Mortem of 1616 concerning property
bequeathed by John Plumbe. The settlement associated with the manorial site at
Potters Marston, named as Mersitone in the Domesday survey of 1086, was
already depopulated by the start of the 15th century through enclosure.

All fences and the surfaces of all modern pathways are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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
character.

The dovecote 85m north of Potters Marston Hall represents an extremely rare
survival in Leicestershire of a medieval dovecote situated in close
association with a manorial site. The dovecote has been subject to little
disturbance or major alterations, with the result that it retains most of its
internal fixtures. It is also likely that archaeological deposits relating to
the earlier use of the site will be preserved beneath it. The survival of
contemporary documents relating to the dovecote enhances our understanding of
the monument.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Farnham, G F, 'Transactions of the Leics Archaeological and Historical Society' in Potters Marston Hall: Some Notes On The Manor, , Vol. 12, (1922)
Other
Leicestershire County Council, 49 NE.A - Potters Marston,
Listed Building Report SP 49 NE - 1/29, (1952)
Oxford Archaeological Unit, MPP Dovecote Assessment, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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