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HER Number:MDV4866
Name:Dovecote south of Bigbury Court, Bigbury


Medieval dovecote to the south of Bigbury Court.


Grid Reference:SX 667 465
Map Sheet:SX64NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBigbury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishBIGBURY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 440982
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX64NE/1/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 99604
  • Old SAM Ref: 33790
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX64NE14

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DOVECOTE (XIII to XVII - 1300 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Shown as a small circular feature in an orchard on 19th century map.

Copeland, G. W., 1941, Further Notes on Devon Dovecotes, 134-5 (Article in Serial). SDV6787.

Dovecote to the south of Bigbury Court. The holes are deep and alternately disposed and slightly L-shaped in plan but there are no internal alighting ledges. At the top of the dome is a round opening with a slated pyramidal roof supported on four wooden angle shafts. Other details: Figure 1.

Department of Environment, 1960, Kingsbridge RD, 6 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV323346.

The dovecote is in the centre of an orchard to the south of Bigbury Court. It is a circular stone building with a domed stone roof. There are 13 tiers of nestholes, ranging from 19 holes at the base to 22 at the top and 7 holes at roof level; 271 total. The doorway is very low. It originally had four wooden beams to form the lintel. Single depressed relieving arch. Two beams remain Circular on plan. Rubble with stone domed roof surmounted by cupola. Flat headed cupola. Flat headed doorway. Numerous nesting holes within. Possibly 16th century.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX64NE14 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV346280.

Dovecote south of Bigbury Court.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/FW, 10 (Aerial Photograph). SDV147956.

Oxford Archaeological Unit, 1995, Dovecotes (Monograph). SDV28107.

Bigbury Court Dovecoat, a very fine circular dovecote with a domed roof. Its 1 metre thick wall are constructed of coursed slabs and stone rubble of local shillet material. The condition is poor affected by water running through the hole in the roof, causing slime to grow on the walls. There is no door, further increasing the problems with damp and allowing rubbish and leaves to blow in. Both the walls and roof need structural repair.

Oxford Archaeological Unit, 1995, Monuments Protection Programme. Step 1 Report: Dovecotes (Report - non-specific). SDV346283.

Rare survival of an early dovecote where drystone construction techniques have been used and where this type of roof has survived.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001, Medieval Dovecote at Bigbury Court (Schedule Document). SDV346282.

Medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court 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. The dovecote is 5.5 metres in diameter with walls 1 metre thick, retaining putlog holes and traces of lime rendering. The eaves height is 4 metres, with a narrow projecting course around the top. The dome springs from here and is a further 2 metres high with a central access hole 1 metre 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. 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. This dovecote 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.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

National Monuments Record, 2011, 440982 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346281.

A Medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court. The dovecote is circular, built of slate rubble with a domed roof. It measures 5.5 metres in diameter and 4 metres from the ground to the eaves above which the dome rises for a further 2 metres. There is a central access hole in the dome and an entrance door on the north side. Within are 13 tiers of staggered nesting holes, totalling 275 in all. The dovecote once contained a potence or internal revolving ladder. A string course of slabs with an 0.2 metre wide external overhang cap the top of the wall at the springing of the roof. This impressive stone domed roof has a circa 1 metres diameter hole in the centre which was presumably covered by a timber or more probably a stone structure now collapsed and lost. In a good state of repair, although the roof is showing signs of weakness and decay. Cattle are allowed to trample within the building on the earthen floor

English Heritage, 2011, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV346128.

Dovecote at Bigbury Court Hotel was Listed as 'Dovecote at The Court' on 26th January 1967. Pigeon house probably built in the 17th century of stone rubble with a conical dome roof. A circular building with an opening to voussoirs in segmental arch towards the farmhouse to north; on opposite side a high small opening with landing shelf. Interior has 13 rows of staggered pigeon holes, a stone dome to centre opening. A good survival from the earlier farm group. Other details: LBS Number 99604.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV147956Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/FW. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 10.
SDV28107Monograph: Oxford Archaeological Unit. 1995. Dovecotes. Monument Protection Programme Step 3 Report, Site Evaluations. A4 Unbound.
SDV323346List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1960. Kingsbridge RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 6.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #93261 ]
SDV346128List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2011. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV346280Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX64NE14. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346281National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 440982. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV346282Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Medieval Dovecote at Bigbury Court. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV346283Report - non-specific: Oxford Archaeological Unit. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme. Step 1 Report: Dovecotes. English Heritage Report. Digital + A4.
SDV6787Article in Serial: Copeland, G. W.. 1941. Further Notes on Devon Dovecotes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 73. A5 Hardback. 134-5.

Associated Monuments

MDV60361Related to: FEATURE in the Parish of Bigbury (Monument)
MDV4865Related to: MANSION HOUSE in the Parish of Bigbury (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Mar 14 2019 2:52PM