Wednesday 9 September 2015

Medieval Pigeon Loft

Buildings for Pigeons/doves, They been around for centuries.
There´s round ones,  square ones, octagonal ones. Ones built on arches, on top of Gateways, in the gable Ends of Barns or houses, ones on legs. Some are about the size of  garden shed, some the size of houses and others are quite literally massive. They were (are) made from Stone, wattle and Daub, timber or timber framed.

After a lot of searching (and I didn´t like the look of any of the common round turret designs) I went for a square design based on the Pimp Hall Dovecote. Similar in design is the Hawford Dovecote,  which was built a bit earlier, in the late 16th century.
It dates from the 17th century so not strictly medieval but the timber framed design fits alongside my buildings.
Wether this will end up in the Village or the town I haven´t decided. It´s a bit big for the Village and the tiles don´t fit in with the rest of the buildings, so it will more than likely end up in the town...but would the townsfolk put up with the Aerial bombardment from a large gang of pigeons? I could build a manor house type farm and add it to that.
The woodwork has turned out looking darker than in real life.
On the site for the Pimp Hall Dovecote,it´s decribed as a barn and dovecote but, without anymore info or actually looking, it could be that the "barn" doubled up as  access for a wagon so that  the Guano could be shovelled into it through a trapdoor.
In the case of the Hawford dovecoat The roosting Areas are only accesible through the barn doors and Pictures of the floors Show large openings...for shovelling Guano?
I searched endlessy for contempory Medieval representations of Pigeon lofts or dove cotes, and finally, I found one (right of the Picture)

From the Flemish book of hours of Marie de Medici.(1573–1642), Named after it´s last owner it was made around 1515/1520. 
Then...on a completely unrelated search, I found another. Looks familiar?
Threshing and pig feeding from a book of hours from the Workshop of the Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, c. 1541)

Both are reckoned to be by the same Artist, an un-named Person known as "The David Master" who is reckoned to be the Artist Gerard Horenbout.
 Gerard Horenbout (ca. 1465–ca. 1541) Master of James IV of Scotland (ca. 1485 – ca. 1526
The subject matter is the same..but one has a more mature style (Flemish book of hours of Marie de Medici) and is considered to have been  painted at the  the apex of his  (The David master) career and artistic maturity.
The styles don´t match, the birth and death Dates of both artists don´t match.

Three Flemish artists are linked... The un-named David Master,  Gerard Horenbout and Simon Bening (Bennink) (ca. 1483 - 1561)
Bening is associated with another work, the  Da Costa Hours, (c. 1515)and what turns up in that work? The second painting.

Top one Gerard Horenbout ? Second one, by a Student, possibly Bening,  working as a Student under Gerard Horenbout and he is therefore the un-named "David master"?


  1. Great looking model. Those illustrations are interesting finds. The only surviving medieval examples I know of are normally built into castle towers or are solid stone, freestanding round or square towers.

  2. Another master build Paul, perhaps a few deposits on the tiles left by our feathered friends?

  3. Stunnung work, that's a very nice piece to grace any collection

  4. Splendid Work Paul. There was a Dove Cote in the back of the front facing buildings of Hougoumont on the left hand side of the roof of the middle building, which was built in early medieval times. Clearly seen in old picture post cards. Very interesting Project. BB