Dovecote at Little Blackford


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Dovecote at Little Blackford
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 92475 45284

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 Little Blackford survives well and retains its original features both externally (such as its unusual style of roof of which there are few surviving examples) and internally where all the original nesting holes are intact. The dovecote also has historical associations, having belonged to a manorial estate said to have been built by Hugh, Earl of Chester and nephew of William the Conqueror.


The monument includes a dovecote located in the grounds of Little Blackford to the south east of Selworthy. The dovecote dates from the late medieval period and stands in the grounds of the former Blackford Manor which was destroyed by fire in 1875. It is circular in plan and constructed of coursed random-rubble walls, up to 1.2m thick and about 5m high, topped with a conical stone tiled roof which rises to a circular opening. The overall height of the structure is 7.6m. Entrance into the dovecote is through a wooden framed doorway, 2m high and 2.5m wide, topped with a plain heavy wood lintel, and hung with a vertically planked door. The interior is 5.7m in diameter with walls lined to eaves level with 11 tiers of irregularly spaced nest holes. The late medieval dovecote is constructed in a style characteristic of the 15th century and formed part of the Blackford Manor which belonged to the Lovel family in the 13th century. It is believed that the original manor house was constructed by Hugh, Earl of Chester, a nephew of William the Conqueror. The dovecote is Listed Grade II*. The public information display board together with all fencing and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hancock, P, The Parish of Selworthy, (1897), 26-7
Blackford Farm, Selworthy, MPP Dovecote Assessment,


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

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