Medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019948

Date first listed: 07-Nov-2001


Ordnance survey map of Medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Bigbury

National Grid Reference: SX 66755 46560


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 medieval dovecote at Bigbury Court is a rare survival of an early dovecote where dry-stone construction techniques have been used. The site also has internal features including flight holes.


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


The monument includes a circular dovecote with a corbelled and domed roof, built of clay bonded slate rubble and located on flat ground, south of the house at Bigbury Court. It is a Listed Building Grade II. The dovecote is 5.5m in diameter with walls 1m thick, retaining putlog holes and traces of lime rendering. The eaves height is 4m, with a narrow projecting course around the top. The dome springs from here and is a further 2m high with a central access hole 1m in diameter. Four holes for a cupola remain. The dovecote is entered by a low door on the north side, with flat timber lintels and a stone relieving arch. Within are 13 tiers of staggered nesting holes, 275 in all, in slate ashlar walling. Seven equally spaced holes just under the corbelling of the roof supported a potence, or internal revolving ladder, which no longer survives. A high window on the south side has been cut at a later date.

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: 33790

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Copeland, G W, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Further Notes on Devon Dovecotes, , Vol. 73, (1941), 134-136

End of official listing