Ancient Monuments

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Dovecote immediately west of Shenton Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Sutton Cheney, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.599 / 52°35'56"N

Longitude: -1.4303 / 1°25'49"W

OS Eastings: 438681.780638

OS Northings: 300290.126399

OS Grid: SK386002

Mapcode National: GBR 6JZ.55Q

Mapcode Global: WHDJD.0X5W

Entry Name: Dovecote immediately west of Shenton Hall

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017207

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30255

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Sutton Cheney

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Sheepy with Ratcliffe Culey Sibson, Orton-on-the-Hill and Twycross

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument includes a dovecote situated immediately west of Shenton Hall.

The dovecote, which is Listed Grade II*, is of 18th century and later date and
consists of a square brick tower approximately 5.5m in width and 9m in height.
The external walls rest on a rubble and brick plinth up to 1m in height and
are divided into three equal parts by two brick string courses or perching
ledges. Each of the walls has a steep gable, and the south eastern, south
western and north western gables contain rectangular louvred windows set into
their centres. A stone plaque in the north western wall carries a date of
1719. The roof of the dovecote is constructed of plain tile and has a glazed
and leaded lantern at its apex.

Access to the dovecote is provided by a doorway in the eastern wall which has
four steps leading up to it, constructed of brick. Internally the dovecote is
lined with nesting boxes covering each wall from floor to ceiling. The walls
are divided by vertical brick columns every two nesting boxes, and continuous
alighting ledges of tile run under each tier. A brick column in the centre of
the dovecote approximately 1.5m high and 2.5m square forms the base of a
double potence which consists of a revolving central post with cross beams at
its upper and lower extremities to which a pair of wooden ladders are affixed.
All four vertical faces of the column contain nesting boxes identical in
construction to those set into the walls, giving a total of approximately 1500
boxes in all.

Documentary sources indicate that the dovecote was constructed by the
Wollaston family in 1719.

The modern surface of the farmyard, where this impinges on the area of the
monument, is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is

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 dovecote immediately west of Shenton Hall represents a rare and impressive
survival in Leicestershire. The dovecote is unusual architecturally in that it
has four gables and is constructed of brick, most other four gabled examples
being both much earlier in date and built of either stone or wood. Although
built in the 18th century, documentary sources show that the dovecote's
importance was not purely aesthetic and that it fulfilled an economic role
throughout the 19th century, which is again unusual for such a late example.
The dovecote has been subject to little disturbance or major alteration with
the result that it retains most of its internal fixtures, whilst the survival
of contemporary documents relating to its use will enhance understanding of
the manner in which it functioned.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984)
Listing Entry - SK30 SE, 4/120, (1966)
OAU, MPP Dovecote Assessment, (1997)
Wollaston, FW, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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