History in Structure

Bogward Dovecot

A Category A Listed Building in St Andrews, Fife

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Latitude: 56.33 / 56°19'47"N

Longitude: -2.8234 / 2°49'24"W

OS Eastings: 349182

OS Northings: 715593

OS Grid: NO491155

Mapcode National: GBR 2Q.51NM

Mapcode Global: WH7S5.L5Q6

Plus Code: 9C8V85HG+XJ

Entry Name: Bogward Dovecot

Listing Name: Bogward Dovecot.

Listing Date: 23 February 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 387020

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB40932

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200387020

Location: St Andrews

County: Fife

Town: St Andrews

Electoral Ward: St Andrews

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Dovecote

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Possibly early to mid 16th century. Rare large, sandstone rubble beehive type dovecot with steep batter surrounded by modern housing development. 3 rat-courses. Flat roof at 3rd rat-course containing entry ports. Later entry ports above 2nd rat-course to S (see Notes). Low studded timber door at ground level to SW.

Statement of Interest

Bogward Dovecot is a rare early beehive type dovecot dating from the early to mid 16th century. Until the 1960's the dovecot formed part of Bogward Farm and the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1893-5 shows the close proximity of the dovecot in relation to the farm. The farm has since been demolished and a modern housing estate constructed on the site.

The use of dovecots was established in Britain from Normans. In Scotland an Act of Parliament from 1503 required 'everilk lord and lard (laird) mak thame (them) to have dowcatis' (R G Cant p143) as part of land management and to provide a welcome source of winter food. At this time the land containing the dovecot at Bogward belonged to the Priory of St Andrews and was let out to local farmers. It was the Priory that benefited from the meat and eggs of the pigeons while the accumulated manure provided a natural lime-rich fertilizer.

The 'beehive type' at Bogward is so named from its resemblance to bee-skeps or hives. The use of rat-courses was to prevent rats from climbing up the exterior and stealing eggs or even young birds while the third course at the wallhead also acted as a ledge for birds entering. The entry ports at the S have been identified (R G Cant p146) as a later addition.

It is understood that the interior contains 800 nesting-boxes and a potence: a rotating ladder, attached to a stone plinth in the middle of the floor, reaching to the top of the dovecot enabling access to the nesting-boxes. As is common in dovecots the lower levels of the interior are kept clear of boxes to allow for the build up of manure. The potence was renewed and the building restored by the St Andrews Preservation Trust from 1962-74. RCAHMS Archaeology Notes from October 1956 describes the building as being in 'good condition' with the exception of the fallen-in roof which was subsequently reinstated by the Trust along with a new door and re-pointing work.


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