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Dovecote at Home Farm 150m south east of Lofts Hall

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Dovecote at Home Farm 150m south east of Lofts Hall

List entry Number: 1017232


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Uttlesford

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Wenden Lofts

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Jan-2000

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 32418

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Although a few aspects of the structure have been altered in more recent times, as a whole the dovecote at Home Farm survives extremely well, particularly so in a region which has seen many such buildings lost through disrepair and demolition or radically altered. Following a national review of this class of monument in 1998, the Home Farm dovecote is now thought to be one of only a small number of exceptional survivals in Essex, and it is especially notable for the survival of the working potence (thought to be unique in the county) and the complete nest box array. An imposing and impressive example of dovecote architecture, the dovecote also retains substantial evidence for the manner of its use which combines to illustrate part of the former economy and lifestyle of the inhabitants of the associated Home Farm and hall complex.


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


The monument includes a large dovecote situated within the grounds of Lofts Hall some 800m to the south of the village of Elmdon. The building complex to which the dovecote belongs includes a church dedicated to St Dunstan, dating from the 12th century; the current hall - a modern replacement of the original built in 1579 and recently destroyed by fire; and, to the east, the 16th to 17th century farmstead of which the dovecote is a central feature. None of these other buildings are included in the scheduling. The dovecote, which is Listed Grade II*, is of octagonal design, built of brick with a brick saw tooth cornice. The roof is tiled with a louvred cupola at the apex and two dormer windows, one facing north and the other south. On the west side is a single fairly small door facing the farmhouse. Inside 1500 wooden nest boxes in 19 tiers line the walls. Each nest box has an arched head, and each tier has a continuous alighting ledge. Internally each nest box is `L'-shaped and 0.3m-0.35m deep. A fully functional wooden potence (a rotating structure designed to provide access to the nests) survives, complete with ladder, and pivots on a large brick octagonal platform 1.2m in diameter. The dovecote is thought to date from the 16th century (as did the original hall) but exhibits mainly 18th century features. All modern fixtures and fittings abutting or attached to the dovecote, including light fittings and telephone lines are excluded from the scheduling, although the structures to which these are attached are 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Cooks, A O, A Book of Dovecotes, (1920), p160
Smith, D, Pigeon Cotes and Dove Houses of Essex, (1931), p248-9
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Frames 1-24, Tyler, S, MPP Film 6, (1999)
Oxford Archaeological Unit, EH MPP Step 3 Report Site evaluations for Dovecotes, (1995)

National Grid Reference: TL 46444 38721


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2018 at 05:50:18.

End of official listing