Moray Dovecot

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by mstphoto, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. mstphoto

    mstphoto TalkEmount Veteran

    464
    Feb 26, 2016
    Aberdeen, NE Scotland
    Mike Stephen
    This Medieval Dovecot is situated near Findlater Castle, Moray.
    A dovecote or dovecot is a structure intended to house pigeons or doves.
    Locally pronounced "Doocot"

    37454022266_9537598291_h. Dovecot by Mike Stephen, on Flickr
     
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  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Woof!

    Plus, I learned something. Thanks Mike!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Huh. Never heard of these.

    Thanks for sharing :)
     
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  4. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 17, 2015
    So, why would you put up one of these dovecots out in the middle of a field?
    I don't see many trees around so maybe that's the answer.
     
  5. mstphoto

    mstphoto TalkEmount Veteran

    464
    Feb 26, 2016
    Aberdeen, NE Scotland
    Mike Stephen
    I've copied and pasted this from another website that describes what a doocot is.

    The doocot at Findlater dates from the 16th century, and is a Category 'A' listed building. It is of rubble construction, and limewashed. The protruding stone bands at intervals are to discourage rats from getting inside. This doocot is associated with Findlater Castle, about half a mile away. It is a 'beehive' doocot, the oldest type, and contains some 700 nesting boxes, each measuring about 15cm x 15cm x 36cm . The boxes start about 18 inches (45 centimetres) off the floor, and taper up to the top, where there was a opening through which the birds could come and go. A ladder on a pivoting stone in the centre of the doocot gave access to the nest boxes.
    DoocotsDoocot is the Scottish word for a dovecote; a pigeon is called a doo. Doos are semi-domesticated Rock Doves (Columba livia), the ancestors of the common feral pigeons found in towns.

    In mediaeval and later times, it was difficult to provide winter fodder for cattle, so a significant proportion of cattle were slaughtered and the meat salted to preserve it, providing food in the form of salt beef. Chickens too tended to go off laying in winter.

    Doos, however, survive all year round, and can breed at any time of year, and they like to nest in holes in dark places like caves. In order to exploit this, doocots were built so that the eggs and birds could be easily harvested for fresh food in winter. Young doos, called 'peesers', were harvested when they were about four weeks old, usually in the morning when the parent birds were out feeding.

    The walls inside a doocot are lined with stone nest boxes, open at the front. It is from these that the word 'pigeonhole' is derived, of course. A doocot was also equipped with ladders to give access to the holes for harvesting.

    Not everyone could build a doocot, however. It was recognised that the birds would feed on crops, so in 1617 a law was enacted stipulating that doocots must not be built less than two miles from the boundary of the estate, the logic being that the doos would then feed on ground belonging to the owner of the doocot, rather than raiding his neighbours' land. The snag was that of course the doos fed on his tenants' land. Thus in practice only the owner or tenant of a large property could build one, so when you see a doocot you know that it was a fairly large estate or farm.

    Doocots come in various shapes and sizes, the commonest being rectangular buildings with a single sloping roof, called lectern doocots. Also common are round doocots tapering towards the top. These are called beehive doocots.

    Almost all doocots have a layer of flat stones protruding from the wall high up and right round the building. This is to prevent rats climbing the walls and gaining access through the holes in the roof used by the birds.

    There was a belief that the destruction of a doocot would be followed within the year by the death of a family member.
     
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  6. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 17, 2015
    Thank you Mike. Very informative, I appreciate it.
     
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  7. mstphoto

    mstphoto TalkEmount Veteran

    464
    Feb 26, 2016
    Aberdeen, NE Scotland
    Mike Stephen
    So now you know :D
     
  8. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    As Spock would say, "fascinating". I enjoy history but had never run across anything about these before. Cool, thank you for sharing. :thumbsup:
     
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  9. mstphoto

    mstphoto TalkEmount Veteran

    464
    Feb 26, 2016
    Aberdeen, NE Scotland
    Mike Stephen
    Glad to spread the word :D
     
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