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Willington Dovecote

nr Bedford, Bedfordshire

Location Guide

A 16th century stable and stone dovecote built alongside Willington Church. It resembles some Scottish and French dovecotes. It is a very large 2 chambered dovecote with crow stepped gables and contains around 1500 nest boxes.

It is constructed of coursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, possibly reused from Newnham Priory which was dissolved in 1535. It is a rectangular building divided into 2 square chambers by a central cross-wall. The end gables are crow-stepped, with moulded copings and kneelers. It has a clay tile roof that is divided into 2 pitches by a band of wooden louvres. The south elevation has one small dormer with wood mullion to the left hand chamber. There is one small doorway to each chamber.

On the inside each chamber contains about 700 nesting boxes, around 1400 in total, built of stone with a brick lintel to each opening.

The nest boxes inside by   Paul Famer

It was commissioned in 1530 by Cardinal Wolseys Master of Horse, Sir John Gostwick, the Earl of Gostwick, and later in service of Henry VIII. It was completed in around 1541 being made from the remains of a manorial complex.


Location: Willington Dovecote, Willington, Bedfordshire

Grid Reference: TL106499 Ceremonial County: Bedfordshire

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap Aerial

Getting there: 4 miles east of Bedford From A421 around Bedford take the A603 to Sandy at the Willington roundabout go through the village at end turn left follow to its end then turn right into Church End. Dovecote is on the right.

Access: Ramped access to stable entrance. Stairs to other floors.
Website: National Trust
Other Useful Websites:  Geograph   Geograph2
Email: willingtondovecote@nationaltrust.org.uk
Address: Willington Dovecote, Church End, Willington, Bedfordshire
Postcode: Telephone: 01480301494
Opening Times: Apr-Sept  Last Sunday of the month 1pm-5pm. Otherwise by appointment only.

Charges: Voluntary 1 donation

Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages:

Other Relevant Pages:  Dovecots   Dovecots in England    Dovecots in Wales

Doocots in Scotland

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By: Tracey Park Section: Heritage Section Key:
Page Ref: willington_dovecote Topic: Dovecots  Last Updated: 09/2010

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