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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Essex Dove Houses (2)

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

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