Dovecote at Great Eccleston, 150m north east of Gradwells


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Dovecote at Great Eccleston, 150m north east of Gradwells
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wyre (District Authority)
Great Eccleston
National Grid Reference:
SD 42576 40045

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.

Despite some disturbance to the monument's nest boxes caused by later modifications, the dovecote at Great Eccleston 150m north east of Gradwells survives reasonably well and remains a good example of this class of monument. It is a rare survival in Lancashire of a brick-built 17th century dovecote.


The monument includes a 17th century brick-built slate-roofed dovecote surmounted by a later wooden square cupola or lantern. It is located in a field to the south west of Great Eccleston village 150m north east of Gradwells. The dovecote measures 4.7m square with a door on the north east side and a window above. Both door and window have arched lintels of vertical bricks and the doorway has jambs of rounded brick edges with inset dressed stone blocks for the door hinges and catch. Traces of an external string course survive, formed of a double course of brick tiles projecting from the walls about halfway up. This is said to be a `rat course' designed to prevent rats and other predators climbing the vertical walls and entering via the flight holes which would have been located in the lantern on top of the roof. This string course would have also functioned as a sunning ledge and perch for the doves. Internally there are ten rows of brick nest boxes each originally having nine boxes to each row. However, later modifications to the dovecote have disturbed a small number of these nest boxes. The dovecote is a Grade II Listed Building.

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:
Legacy System:


LB No. 281/5/10001, DOE, List of Buildings of Historical & Architectural Importance, (1998)
OAU MPP Dovecote Assessment, Oxford Archaeological Unit, Dovecote, Great Eccleston, (1998)
SMR No. 3693, Lancashire SMR, Great Eccleston Dovecot, (1998)


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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