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Balmule Dovecot

A Category B Listed Building in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0795 / 56°4'46"N

Longitude: -3.2819 / 3°16'54"W

OS Eastings: 320310

OS Northings: 688146

OS Grid: NT203881

Mapcode National: GBR 25.NSSC

Mapcode Global: WH6RZ.KGD8

Entry Name: Balmule Dovecot

Listing Date: 2 May 1973

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 334718

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3599

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdour (Fife)

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay

Traditional County: Fife

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Aberdour

Description

17th century. Large, double-bay, rectangular-plan lectern dovecot. Random rubble sandstone, dressed ashlar quoins, stepped stone rat course/alighting ledge remains. Entrance elevation to SE; enlarged doorway to left, original, chamfered ashlar surround to right doorway, relieving arch set above. Pair of flight holes above rat course/alighting ledge; centred above each door (blocked flight hole to left). Remnant of moulded eaves course to far right. Plain gable walls with stepped rat course/alighting ledge; SW gable partially remains. Tall NW wall with continuous rat course. Formerly slated lean-to roof, now roofless, (2002). Crowstepped gable to NE partially remains. Interior, infilled with rubble and vegetation, stone nesting boxes to elevations.

Statement of Interest

NOTES: This dovecot is the largest of the standing dovecots remaining in the parish (see separate listings), once accommodating more pigeons than any of its neighbours. The two doorways suggest that the dovecot could have contained two separate chambers, however the nesting boxes run the full way along the back elevation with no visible divide, inferring that there was just one large chamber with two entrances. It was documented by the RCAHMS in 1928 that above one of the doors, most likely the left, was a panel bearing the inscription '1688' and the monogram 'W.S.M.O.' Aberdour and surrounding lands is divided between the old feudal estates of the Earls of Morton (Easter Aberdour) and the Earls of Moray (Wester Aberdour). The dovecots throughout the parish served the Moray and Morton estates, not only acting as valuable sources of meat and manure but also as visible symbols of the wealth and status of the landowners (after 1617 only landowners who had considerable lands were permitted to build dovecots). When the dovecot was previously surveyed in 1979 there were 1382 stone nesting boxes.

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