Ancient Monuments

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Dovecote at Home Farm 150m south east of Lofts Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Wenden Lofts, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0276 / 52°1'39"N

Longitude: 0.1332 / 0°7'59"E

OS Eastings: 546443.885259

OS Northings: 238721.226687

OS Grid: TL464387

Mapcode National: GBR L9F.Y6V

Mapcode Global: VHHL2.897H

Entry Name: Dovecote at Home Farm 150m south east of Lofts Hall

Scheduled Date: 12 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017232

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32418

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Wenden Lofts

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex


The monument includes a large dovecote situated within the grounds of Lofts
Hall some 800m to the south of the village of Elmdon. The building complex to
which the dovecote belongs includes a church dedicated to St Dunstan, dating
from the 12th century; the current hall - a modern replacement of the original
built in 1579 and recently destroyed by fire; and, to the east, the 16th to
17th century farmstead of which the dovecote is a central feature. None of
these other buildings are included in the scheduling.
The dovecote, which is Listed Grade II*, is of octagonal design, built of
brick with a brick saw tooth cornice. The roof is tiled with a louvred cupola
at the apex and two dormer windows, one facing north and the other south. On
the west side is a single fairly small door facing the farmhouse.
Inside 1500 wooden nest boxes in 19 tiers line the walls. Each nest box has an
arched head, and each tier has a continuous alighting ledge. Internally each
nest box is `L'-shaped and 0.3m-0.35m deep. A fully functional wooden potence
(a rotating structure designed to provide access to the nests) survives,
complete with ladder, and pivots on a large brick octagonal platform 1.2m in
The dovecote is thought to date from the 16th century (as did the original
hall) but exhibits mainly 18th century features.
All modern fixtures and fittings abutting or attached to the dovecote,
including light fittings and telephone lines are excluded from the scheduling,
although the structures to which these are attached are 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

Although a few aspects of the structure have been altered in more recent
times, as a whole the dovecote at Home Farm survives extremely well,
particularly so in a region which has seen many such buildings lost through
disrepair and demolition or radically altered. Following a national review of
this class of monument in 1998, the Home Farm dovecote is now thought to be
one of only a small number of exceptional survivals in Essex, and it is
especially notable for the survival of the working potence (thought to be
unique in the county) and the complete nest box array. An imposing and
impressive example of dovecote architecture, the dovecote also retains
substantial evidence for the manner of its use which combines to illustrate
part of the former economy and lifestyle of the inhabitants of the associated
Home Farm and hall complex.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cooks, A O, A Book of Dovecotes, (1920), p160
Smith, D, Pigeon Cotes and Dove Houses of Essex, (1931), p248-9
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Frames 1-24, Tyler, S, MPP Film 6, (1999)
Oxford Archaeological Unit, EH MPP Step 3 Report Site evaluations for Dovecotes, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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