An Essex Dovecote Rediscovered
Taken from Essex Archaeology and History News, No. 104, December 1988
The cover of the August issue of the newsletter featured illustrations of two dovecotes, taken from Donald Smiths's Pigeon Houses and Dove Houses of Essex (1931). The following note describes a dovecote not featured in that work.
"When the Manning family lived in the old house on the moated site at Great Garnets, there being six daughters, it was not uncommon to find lovers under the old archway. However, it was not until a few years ago, when one of Maurice Gepp's daughters kindly sent me a few old photographs of High Easter district taken by her father, that I realised there had been a lover in the archway roof as well! The photograph was taken in about 1890 and shows that the archway was formally used as a dovecote, the lover (or louvre) being clearly visible. The archway still stands today, but the louvre has vanished, having been pulled down and the area tiled over. It is interesting to note that this archway is shown on a map of 1622 of High Easter, by the surveyor Samuel Walker1, with what appears to be a louvre in the roof. Since the R.C.H.M. (Vol 2, p129) does not mention the louvre in their report of the Great Garnets outbuildings, one would presume the louvre to have vanished before then. However, a detailed examination of the loft area above the archway could still confirm the evidence of the photograph."
1. British Library Add. M.S. 41848
Derek E. Bircher