Dovecote 70m south west of South Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Dovecote 70m south west of South Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Rotherham (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:

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 standing and buried remains of Letwell dovecote, 70m south west of South Farm, are particularly well preserved. It is a very good example of a late 18th century dovecote with unusual interior features. Taken as a whole Letwell dovecote will enhance our understanding of the construction and use of dovecotes in the area and their position in the wider landscape.


The monument includes the standing and below ground remains of Letwell dovecote. The dovecote stands in isolation in a field and is Listed Grade II. It is octagonal in plan and is constructed of red brick on a stone plinth. There is a doorway in the south east side with a dressed stone surround and a keyed lintel (cut to imitate an arch). This is the only opening in the lower level of the dovecote. The first floor level is marked by a string course (moulding) which runs around all sides of the monument. Above the string course on each face is a round arched recess, and the ones above the door, and on the next face to the right, have pigeon holes through which birds could gain access to the dovecote. The roof is hipped with lead ridges and a wooden louvred cupola which contains flight holes and a weather vane. The roof has stone slate eaves but is capped with tiles. Inside the dovecote each wall is lined by tiers of square headed nesting holes made of painted red clay. The resting holes are set into brick-built segmental arches. The two upper tiers of nest holes in each arch have their own continuous alighting edge made of tile. For the lower tier the brick arches beneath double as alighting edges. The interior also retains its wooden potence (a revolving structure) and ladder which was used to collect eggs at all levels within the dovecote without having to touch the nests. There is also a display cabinet containing information and pictures of the dovecote set into one wall. The dovecote, which was renovated in 1984, is believed to be a late 18th century replacement of an earlier dovecote. A title deed dated March 1676/77, recording the sale of Firbeck to Johnathon Staniforth, documents dovecotes at both Firbeck Hall and Letwell. The display cabinet is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
British Dovecote Society, , Letwell Dovecote


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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