Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Dovecote 80m south west of Olivers

A Scheduled Monument in Stanway, Essex

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.8565 / 51°51'23"N

Longitude: 0.8539 / 0°51'14"E

OS Eastings: 596630.8865

OS Northings: 221401.3895

OS Grid: TL966214

Mapcode National: GBR RM5.DQX

Mapcode Global: VHKG4.RL9M

Entry Name: Dovecote 80m south west of Olivers

Scheduled Date: 12 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017235

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32421

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Stanway

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Shrub End All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a 17th century dovecote situated in a garden to the
south west of the house at Olivers, on the north side of the Roman River
valley. The mansion house at Olivers dates back to the 15th century and would
originally have been surrounded by woodland, some of which still survives
(principally Walk Wood).

The dovecote, which is Listed Grade II, is octagonal, having a foundation and
lower courses of red brick with weatherboarding above. The dovecote has two
stories; the lower part has a brick floor and internal brick wall, ventilated
by two small gratings in the walls. A large original oak cross beam supports
the floor boards of the upper level, the undersides of which were originally
plastered and some small areas of plaster remain. The upper part has a boarded
floor, some 2.25m above ground level and is accessed via an external ladder.
Unlike the lower level, the walls of the upper level do not have an inner skin
of brick, but are of wattle (hazel) and daub construction set within an oak
frame. The roof is slate tiled surmounted by a timber cupola or lantern (a
replacement dating from the 1940s) with entry holes on every side.

Internally the upper level originally contained some 112 nest boxes, about
half of which still remain. The nest boxes are of particular interest, being
constructed of clay bats around a wooden frame of oak; they vary in size
slightly, but an average size is approximately 0.28m by 0.42m.

The roof retains original features: the original oak rafters are in situ,
reinforced by modern timbers; the louver, pipe and alighting beam are of
original oak timbers.

Documentary sources state that the dovecote was in use during the course of
World War I until wartime restrictions made it impossible to feed the doves.
It was subsequently used as a fruit store and an animal shelter.

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 some aspects of the structure have been replaced or strengthened in
recent years, as a whole the dovecote at Olivers survives extremely well -
particularly so in a region which has seen considerable numbers of such
buildings lost through disrepair and demolition or radically altered.

Following a national review of this class of monument in 1998, Olivers is now
thought to be one of only a few exceptional survivals in Essex, a small number
of which retain examples of this inherently fragile variant of nest box
construction. The dovecote thus retains substantial evidence for the manner of
its use and therefore serves to illustrate part of the economy and lifestyle
of the inhabitants of the manor since the 17th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, D, Pigeon Cotes and Dove Houses of Essex, (1931), p248
Gant, H, 'Essex Review' in Dovehouse at Olivers, Stanway, , Vol. 198, (1941), p103-5
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Oxford Archaeological Unit, EH MPP Step 3 Report Site evaluations for Dovecotes, (1995)
Tyler, S, MPP Film, (1998)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.