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The Dovecote
Where Monks kept their Dinner

The Monastic Dovecote - İ Nash Ford Publishing


  • This is where the monks kept doves or pigeons.
  • They could be round or square. Sometimes they were built into barns.
  • They always had inside walls covered with little holes or niches where the birds could nest.
  • The birds got in through a slatted turret at the top.
  • The monks kept pigeons to eat them. They were a good source of fresh meat, particularly in the winter.
  • The monks were supposed to be vegetarians. The abbot often let them eat pigeon though.
  • The abbot was allowed to eat meat because he often had important guests to entertain.
  • Of Berkshire's monastic dovecotes, only the one at Hurley Priory has survived.
  • Manor Houses and big farms could have dovecotes too. Several still exist in Berkshire; like at Coley Park, Bisham Abbey Manor, Pigeon House Farm in Eastbury, the manor at Long Wittenham or the two in Marcham.
  • The nearest dovecotes open to the public are at Basing House in Hampshire and Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire.


    İ Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved.