The Dovecote

 

A listed, octagonal dovecote serves as a bridge over the Camlais stream that flows into the river Usk. In the days before the sewage laws came in, the lower half served as a privy.  From the 17th Century it was in constant use until the Sewer Laws came in at about the time of World War 1. The gentlemen of the house went down the front path past the rose beds and in through the near door (they used the holes on the South side) while the servants went out of the back door of the big house, across a plank over the river and in through the far door using the holes on the North side.

Pigeon Houses in the 17th and 18th Centuries were very important in the country. As pigeons breed even more prolifically than rabbits and they will have provided almost the only fresh meat available in the winter. There are pipistrelles nesting under the tiles. The building was restored under one of the first ever Grants given by the Government in the 1950’s. Assuming that no-one would ever again want to keep doves, the holes at the top and the nesting boxes inside were removed during the restoration. In past times there will have been a platform about halfway up, with nesting boxes all around the sides. A ladder would have been available to collect eggs when required.

‘…exceptional interest as an elaborate architectural dovecote of the 18th Century’

Extract from Historic Wales Report

‘Among the most elaborate in south Wales are the octagonal dovecotes at Glynhir (Llandybic, Carms.) and at Abercamlais (Penpont, Brecons.). The dovecote forms a fine vertical feature in the landscape, and more conscious artistry seems to have been bestowed on it than on most farm buildings. It forms an effective memorial to a now vanished aspect of the economy.’

The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Volume 4, Part 2 – Volume 5, Part 2, edited by Joan Thirsk, 1967.

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