St Margaret's Church, Downham: the Dovecote

The 18th century dovecote was built in a field belonging to Downham Hall Farm. It was built of brick with a tiled roof and domed cupola on top. In medieval times pigeons played an important part in the diet. Many large houses and Halls had dovecotes in their grounds. Inside the cote were gaps in the bricks, these allowed the pigeons places to nest and raise their young.

In 1991 it was decided to move the dovecote from the field and rebuild it next to St Margaret’s Church, just a few hundred yards from its original site. It was taken down brick by brick and rebuilt next to the 17th century stable at St Margaret’s Church, Downham. It now features in many a bride’s wedding album as it makes an interesting backdrop to her photographs.

When the dovecote was finished a new memorial for those whose ashes have been interred in the churchyard was built close by.

The dovecote being built as seen from the church
Downham Church Collection
The dovecote, nearly finished.
Downham Church Collection
Dovecote finished and new memorial
Downham Church Collection
The Dovecote in its new position.
Downham Church Collection
Rosemund Owens, Parish Clerk of South Hanningfield, outside the dovecote in June 1991.
The 'Echo' archive.

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  • In the 1940s I lived in Castledon Road and well remember this dovecot in the field. It was open and I recall all the pigeon holes inside.

    By Arthur Cox (25/10/2013)

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