Dovecote at Rousham House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017324

Date first listed: 14-Mar-2000


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

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Rousham

National Grid Reference: SP4794124188


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 Rousham House survives well and unusually retains all the main components of its internal furniture which increases its archaeological integrity and value. In addition the dovecote is a good example of its class, form and date. Its fitness for the purpose originally intended is demonstrated by the fact that it is still used by pigeons.


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


The monument includes a 17th century dovecote (dated 1685), situated in a walled garden in the grounds of Rousham House. The dovecote, which is Listed Grade II*, is circular in plan and is built of coursed limestone. Internally it still contains its ladder and a central platform on which its potence sits. This whole structure pivots around the interior of the building to allow access to the nest boxes. The boxes (744), themselves are built into the walls, and there is an alighting ledge below every other tier of nest boxes. The roof is conical with two good examples of wooden dormer windows and a decorative white, wooden cupula at its top. The dovecote lies in the later park planned by William Kent which was designed around it.

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: 30846

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hansell, P, Hansell, J, Doves and Dovecotes, (1988), 87,91,8
OXFORDSHIRE 2, O.A.U., MPP Dovecote Assessment, (1997)

End of official listing