Dovecote 160m north west of Coombe Place
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1019248
Date first listed: 07-Jun-2000
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: East Sussex
District: Lewes (District Authority)
National Park: SOUTH DOWNS
National Grid Reference: TQ 39175 12378
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 160m north west of Coombe Place is a good example of a post- medieval, ornamental dovecote and survives well in mostly its original condition. It incorporates high quality, unusual architectural details and internal features, and remains an impressive feature within the surrounding landscape.
The monument includes a dovecote situated within the grounds of Coombe Place
to the west of Offham village, on the northern escarpment of the Sussex Downs.
The dovecote, which is Listed Building Grade II, has been dated to the early
19th century and was built as a prominent landscape feature.
The ornate, octagonal building has a diameter of around 5m, and is constructed
of flint with dressings and quoins of red and grey brick. It is topped by a
slate roof with an octagonal wooden cupola at the apex, above the birds'
entrance. Other external architectural details include a large, blocked
imitation pointed window on each side, with one genuine opening in the south,
and a blocked quatrefoil above it.
Access for humans is through a pointed arched doorway on the north eastern
side. Arranged in tiers around the lime washed interior walls, are about 350
chalk and brick-built, L-shaped nesting boxes. The horizontal chalk blocks,
which divide the tiers, functioned as the alighting ledges. The interior has
been partly damaged on its north western side, where some of the nesting boxes
have been lost.
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: 32267
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Law, W, 'Our Ancient Dovecotes' in Brighton and Hove Archaeologist, , Vol. 3, (1926), 128-142
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