Dovecote at Hawley Manor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016495

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1948

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Dovecote at Hawley Manor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Dartford (District Authority)

Parish: Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley

National Grid Reference: TQ 54884 72049


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 character.

The dovecote at Hawley Manor is a fine example of a post-medieval, ornamental dovecote and survives particularly well in mostly original condition. It incorporates high quality, unusual architectural details and retains rare internal features, including nest parapets, wooden access ladders and beams, and the water trough setting.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a dovecote situated within the grounds of Hawley Manor on the northern edge of Hawley village, around 2km south of Dartford. The dovecote has been dated by its architectural features to the early 17th century (a plaque on the north eastern dormer window inscribed with the date 1556 is believed to be a 20th century insertion). The square, north east-south west aligned building has sides measuring 7m in length, and is constructed of red brick laid in English bond. It is topped by a pyramidal clay-tiled roof, lit by Dutch-style dormer windows on three sides. This is surmounted by a glazed lantern below a large, ogee-shaped cupola decorated with carved wooden corner pendants. Other external architectural details include a mid-height string course, leaded lights with coloured glass and a moulded wooden eaves cornice.

The position of now removed, later lean-to garden structures is indicated by areas of render covering the lower courses of the north western and part of the south western walls. Access for humans is through a central, studded oak plank door through the north eastern wall. Built within the lime washed interior walls are 549 integral nesting boxes, many edged with a parapet to prevent the young birds from falling out. Below each row is a brick ledge which functioned as an alighting platform. Human access to the nesting boxes is by way of a wooden peg ladder leading up to two sets of beams fixed into the walls. A further peg ladder gives access to trap doors at the base of the lantern. At the centre of the brick floor is a square recess, interpreted as the setting for a now removed water tank.

The building remained in use as a dovecote until 1939. The cupola was renewed in 1922, and further repair work was carried out to the building after fire damage in 1970. The dovecote is Listed Grade II*.

Those parts of the later, Grade II Listed garden boundary walls and gateway which abut the north eastern and south eastern corners of the dovecote and which fall within the monument's protective margin, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 31412

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Caiger, J E L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in Two Kent Pigeon Houses, , Vol. 89, (1974), 33-41

End of official listing