Coley Park and Beyond

Coley Park ...

... and Beyond

Dovecoat - Coley Park Farm

 

A mini page dedicated to the Dovecote at Coley Park Farm in Reading, Berkshire.

 

The Dovecote located at the former Coley Park Farm is a round brick building that was built in 1553 by Thomas Vachell, during or after the construction of the original Vachell House. It was easy to date as it once bore the inscription AD 1553 TV (the TV stands for Thomas Vachell). Also built into the brickwork of the Dovecote is a small square stone tablet inscribed with a carved cross, which was believed to have been saved from Reading Abbey after it was dissolved by order of Henry VIII in 1539. The building survives to this day and is now protected under the Monuments Protection Programme implemented by English Heritage in 1984.

The Dovecote had nesting boxes for over a thousand pairs of doves or pigeons that were bred for their meat and eggs. It also supplied feathers and down, and along with those from other farmyard birds, made a comfortable filling for pillows and feather beds, at no cost! Many dovecote pigeons were used as quarry in the sport of falconry, and later in pigeon-shooting matches. Some dovecotes were later converted for grain and food storage.

 

Built into the brickwork of the dovecote at Coley Park Farm is a small square stone tablet with a carved cross.

 


The dovecote with whitewash coating.
Photo by S. Victor White, Reading. c1890
 
Interior which clearly shows the nesting boxes.
Photo by S. Victor White, Reading. c1890

 


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