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
The dovecote at Burnt House Farm is a good example of a rare 18th century
combined dovecote, and survives particularly well in mostly original
condition. Its siting within a contemporary farmyard, in association with a
group of similarly detailed buildings, provides evidence for the planned,
ordered and decorative design of farm buildings advocated by 18th century
The monument includes a dovecote situated within a farmyard on the northern
edge of the village of Chartham, around 10km south west of Canterbury. The
dovecote has been dated to the 18th century and is a tall, east-west aligned,
rectangular building measuring around 8m by 4m. Cleverly designed as a
decorative, multi-purpose farm building, the red brick dovecote is built on
sloping ground. It has three storeys topped by a gabled, clay tiled roof.
Architectural details include a mid-height string course, a decorative
cornice, small triangular dormer windows and gable ends finished with coping
and kneelers. The ground floor was originally used as a pig sty; the pigs
provided warmth to help heat the two storeys above. The pigs entered the sty
through two ground level round-arched openings from the lower ground to the
south. The middle floor housed poultry and is lit by two square openings
through the southern wall. These have vertical wooden bars designed to prevent
the hens from escaping. Access to the hen house and the upper storey is
through a central doorway through the northern wall, approached from the
higher ground to the north. The dovecote occupies the top floor, with the
doves gaining entry through small square openings in each gable end.
Internally, the walls of the upper storey are lined with around 600 brick nest
boxes, each provided with an offset landing stage. A wooden partition has been
inserted here at a later date. The dovecote is Listed Grade II.
Those parts of the farmyard walls which abut the western and eastern sides of
the dovecote and which fall within its protective margin are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.
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.