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Dovecote at Charleston Manor

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 Charleston Manor

List entry Number: 1019244


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

County: East Sussex

District: Wealden

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Cuckmere Valley

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 05-Jan-2001

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: 32272

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.

The dovecote at Charleston Manor is a rare surviving example of an early dovecote in Sussex. It survives well, mostly in its original condition, and retains much of its internal integrity, including its original chalk nesting boxes and a later potence. The building remains an impressive feature within the surrounding landscape.


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


The monument includes a dovecote situated within the grounds of Charleston Manor, on the eastern edge of the Cuckmere valley, around 2km north west of Seaford. The dovecote has been dated to the 13th century and formed part of the medieval manorial settlement at Charleston. The principal 12th century house of the manorial complex survives as the southern wing of Charleston Manor, to which the remaining wings were added during the 16th and 18th centuries. The dovecote is a circular building which has an internal diameter of around 4.3m and is built into the north facing slope of a garden terrace, around 30m WSW of the house. Its substantial flint faced walls are over a metre thick and are supported on the southern, downhill side by a single buttress. The external surface of the walls were rendered at some stage in the past, and traces of this survive. The dovecote is topped by a conical, clay tiled roof, pierced by a small rectangular window, with an octagonal wooden cupola at the apex, above the birds' entrance. Access for humans is through a simple doorway on the north eastern side. Internally, the walls are lined with around 400 square, chalk nesting boxes, some of which have been rebuilt in brick during past repairs to the walls. The rows are divided by slightly projecting horizontal chalk blocks, which functioned as alighting ledges. Human access to the nesting boxes is by way of a rotating wooden framework, or potence. The dovecote is a Listed Building Grade II, and retains a small population of doves. The surrounding landscaped gardens, which are Registered Grade II*, were laid out in the 1930s by the architect and garden designer, Walter H Godfrey, and commissioned by the painter, Sir Oswald Birley. The dovecote was incorporated into the highest of a series of garden terraces, lined with yew hedges, on the southern side of the house.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Godfrey, W H, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Charleston Manor House, , Vol. IV, No.2, (1932), 33-39
Martin, D, Martin, B, 'ROHAS' in West Dean - Dovecote and Charleston Manor, , Vol. 1076, (1989)

National Grid Reference: TQ 52054 00635


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This copy shows the entry on 26-Sep-2018 at 01:33:17.

End of official listing