Dovecote Dell is a tiny village, with no more than about a dozen houses and cottages. The history and beauty of the place always delights me, even on the dullest day.
On Monday I attended the monthly meeting for the golden oldies. I was reluctant to enter the gloom of the village hall, especially as we were enjoying a rare day of sunshine, but I knew we had arranged for one of our number to give a talk.
Miss Read is a retired village school teacher and she kept us enthralled with tales of her childhood and what it was like to live in the local manor house in Dovecote Dell. She is a lovely woman and, despite failing eyesight, still manages to paint, decorate cakes, and keep busy.
She is a marvel!
Without the aid of notes she was able to talk for almost an hour and a half, keeping us all totally engaged and wanting more.
Too many tales to put into one post.
No matter what the weather, I find the old dovecote very beautiful and the history of the place keeps my mind busy.
It is Tudor period, an early 16th century building and is a protected and listed building.
The interior has/had brick nesting boxes built in floor to ceiling.
Miss Read has only been inside it once, when she was a child. She remembers that the interior was feet deep in pigeon droppings and the smell was not pleasant. One look inside was all she needed, and that was probably more than 80 years ago.
The entrance is through that small aperture at ground level, which you can see in the previous photograph. An adult would have to stoop down quite low to go through.
In the 1960's, after a particularly bad winter, a large chunk of the dovecote collapsed and had to be rebuilt. If you enlarge some of the photographs, you can probably see where the rebuilding was done. Interestingly, Miss Read says that the nesting boxes were not rebuilt. I'm not going to go inside to check, but I believe that only two thirds of the original ones survived.
It looks particularly beautiful when it wears a covering of snow.
This photograph was taken a few years ago, we haven't had any real amounts of snow since then. The very top of the church bell tower can be seen to the left, hiding among the trees.
Up until relatively recent times there were five farms in the village, but these days there is just one working farm.
As a consequence, the number of households has also diminished as small cottages have been knocked through and larger homes created.
The houses and cottages did not have mains water until the 1950/60's. They had to go to the local spring - down past the dovecote and to the left, near that tiny gate which is protruding at the side of the dovecote.
The manor house had a pump, so they were alright, even if that pump took an awful lot of effort to operate.
The manor house was demolished in the 1960's or thereabouts, which is a shame. The site is moated, the core of the house was ancient and had a priest hole hidden within. It was also reputed to have a secret tunnel leading to a monastery some 3 miles away... unfortunately this has also been demolished.