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- Category: A
- Group Category Details: A
- See Notes
- Date Added: 02/05/1973
- Local Authority: Fife
- Planning Authority: Fife
- Parish: Aberdour (Fife)
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 19307 85400
- Coordinates: 319307, 685400
16th century, renovated 1990s. Circular beehive dovecot. Coursed rubble rising in 4 stages. Rat course to 1st stage, rat course/alighting ledge to remaining stages. Small entrance to N, weather table supported by square corbels above. Interior, walls built in converging rings, circular opening to roof. Five steps down to stone floor, foundation for potence visible, stone nesting boxes to full height, central flight hole.
Statement of Special Interest
NOTES: SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT. A-Group with Aberdour Castle, Aberdour Castle West Doorway, Aberdour Castle Walled Garden, Aberdour Sundial. The dovecot stands to the S of the castle and is first recorded in a charter of 1540. Of all the dovecots to be found in the parish (see separate listings), the distinctive beehive shape denotes its primacy as first in date. Beehive dovecots are usually squat in appearance, however this example is more elegant than most. The entrance is typically small for security and to minimise the potential of birds escaping. It is rather unusual that five steps lead down into the chamber, most tend to be on ground floor level. The floor shows signs of where the potence stood, being a revolving ladder providing access to the nesting boxes so that eggs and birds could be easily gathered. The beehive design was superseded in the 16th and 17th centuries by dovecots of square and rectangular plan, such examples can be found within the parish (see separate listings). Dovecots served not only as valuable sources of meat and manure they also acted as visible symbols of wealth and status. When the dovecot was surveyed in 1979 it was recorded that there were 597 stone nesting boxes. For further information see Aberdour Castle list description.
REFERENCES: 1st edition (Fife) Ordnance Survey map (1856). RCAHMS, INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS OF FIFE, KINROSS AND CLACKMANNAN (1933) p21. A Robertson, OLD DOVECOTES IN AND AROUND EDINBURGH in the old Edinburgh Club, Vol 25 (1945) pp146-203. M Apted, ABERDOUR CASTLE (1966) p20-21, 28-29. J Gifford, FIFE (1988) p64. U Robertson, PIGEONS AS A SOURCE OF FOOD IN 18th CENTURY SCOTLAND in review of Scottish Culture, No 4 (1988) pp89-103. T Buxbaum, SCOTTISH DOOCOTS (1992) pp1-32.
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