Ancient Monuments

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Medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court

A Scheduled Monument in Bigbury, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3039 / 50°18'14"N

Longitude: -3.8724 / 3°52'20"W

OS Eastings: 266754.708819

OS Northings: 46559.936655

OS Grid: SX667465

Mapcode National: GBR QB.J70X

Mapcode Global: FRA 28S7.767

Entry Name: Medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court

Scheduled Date: 7 November 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019948

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33790

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bigbury

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bigbury St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a circular dovecote with a corbelled and domed roof,
built of clay bonded slate rubble and located on flat ground, south of the
house at Bigbury Court. It is a Listed Building Grade II.
The dovecote is 5.5m in diameter with walls 1m thick, retaining putlog holes
and traces of lime rendering. The eaves height is 4m, with a narrow projecting
course around the top. The dome springs from here and is a further 2m high
with a central access hole 1m in diameter. Four holes for a cupola remain. The
dovecote is entered by a low door on the north side, with flat timber lintels
and a stone relieving arch. Within are 13 tiers of staggered nesting holes,
275 in all, in slate ashlar walling. Seven equally spaced holes just under the
corbelling of the roof supported a potence, or internal revolving ladder,
which no longer survives. A high window on the south side has been cut at a
later date.

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 medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court is a rare survival of an early dovecote
where dry-stone construction techniques have been used. The site also has
internal features including flight holes.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Copeland, G W, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Further Notes on Devon Dovecotes, , Vol. 73, (1941), 134-136

Source: Historic England

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