Dovecote

No-one really knows much about the ancient Dovecote hidden away in the corner of the stables or even why the roof was raised after the war. Most historians agree that the structure was most likely moved to Stanmer from another part of the Chichester Estate, but are sceptical that it is the ‘Pidgeon House’ showing on the 1799 Figg map (section reproduced below).

The excellent 2003 Colson Stone report has this to say about the field name changes:

The route of the West Drive, leading to the village from Upper Lodges, was realigned to lead to the north end of the village rather than the centre. The reason for this change is not clear, although it allowed the two small fields referred to in 1799 as “The Green” and “Pidgeon House Croft” to be united as one field, now named “Pigeon House Field”. One local theory is that this was done to facilitate the construction of a water catcher within the tree belt along the south side of the drive – which provided an additional water supply to the house. However, this seems unlikely as this feature was not formed until much later, between 1870 and 1875, to the designs of the estate foreman Thomas Jones.

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