Dovecote 160m north west of Coombe Place


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019248

Date first listed: 07-Jun-2000


Ordnance survey map of Dovecote 160m north west of Coombe Place
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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)

Parish: Hamsey

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 character.

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

End of official listing