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Willington Dovecote and Stables

Places > Willington > Dovecotes and Stables

The Tudor stable and dovecote in Willington are the remains of a historic manor complex, built by John Gostwick, soon after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry V111. Sir John Gostwicke served as Treasurer General in Henry V111s reign and was a prominent officer in his service.

The dovecote is far larger than would be needed for a manor house and a stable built completely of stone was a sign of conspicuous extravagance. The Stables were built in the late 1530s. The dovecote, which could house 1500 pairs of pigeons, was built in the early 1540s. The pigeons were used as luxury food and pairs were sometime given as presents.

The small doors in the dovecote allow a man standing in the doorway to block it completely, preventing the birds from flying out while the louvers in the roof and the single dormer provide ventilation and access for the birds, whilst keeping out larger birds of prey.

In 1914 the dovecote was given to the National Trust and some 50 years later the Stables was also handed over to The National Trust


  • The Newspaper Cuttings Collection, Local Studies Collection, Bedford Central Library

Dovecote and Stables, Willington by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2011

Page last updated: 4th February 2014