Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Dovecote 50m north east of Manor Farm House

A Scheduled Monument in Toft, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1873 / 52°11'14"N

Longitude: -0.0093 / 0°0'33"W

OS Eastings: 536186.092722

OS Northings: 256209.600886

OS Grid: TL361562

Mapcode National: GBR K5Z.Y6S

Mapcode Global: VHGMR.S9G1

Entry Name: Dovecote 50m north east of Manor Farm House

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018904

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22756

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Toft

Built-Up Area: Toft

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Toft St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a dovecote situated 50m north east of Manor Farm House.
The dovecote is thought to date from the late 17th or early 18th century.

The dovecote, which is Grade II Listed, takes the form of a brick and timber-
framed structure, 6m square in plan, with a tiled roof. Resting on a level
platform, the lower part of the walls is of brick construction and stands to a
height of about 1.3m, including a shallow plinth. The upper part of the walls,
up to a height of about 3.5m, is timber-framed and weatherboarded. In the
middle of the west wall is a halved wooden doorway and a louvred vent. On the
interior of the building, fixed to the timber frame above the brick structure,
is an extensive series of nest boxes constructed of clay bat and tile. The
nest boxes, which have arched openings and are whitewashed, are largely intact
on three sides but have been removed from the north wall. A square flight
hole, lined with vertical boards to prevent use by birds of prey, is
positioned in the centre of the roof and is covered by a gablet. The roof and
gablet are tiled, and together reach a height of over 4m.

The shed which stands outside the north wall of the building, and the modern
brick plinth inside the north wall, are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath these features is included.

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

The dovecote at Toft is a complete standing structure surviving in good
condition. It is rare in that both internal and external features, including
nest boxes of unusual type, have survived largely intact. The platform upon
which the dovecote stands will include archaeological deposits relating to its
construction and use which, together with the building itself, will preserve
valuable evidence for the way in which dovecotes functioned both economically
and symbolically in the post-medieval period.

Source: Historic England

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