Dunbar, Friarscroft

Dovecot, Priory

Site Name Dunbar, Friarscroft

Classification Dovecot, Priory

Alternative Name(s) Friar's Croft; Red Friars Dovecot

Canmore ID 57675

Site Number NT67NE 7

NGR NT 67788 78839

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Dunbar
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT67NE 7.00 67790 78840

NT67NE 7.01 c. 678 788 Almshouse

(NT 6779 7884) Rems of (NAT) Monastery (NR) (Trinitarian) (NAT)

OS 6" map (1971)

This dovecot was in a very good condition when seen in 1962.

Visited by OS (DT) 28 August 1962.

The small house of Trinitarian or Red Friars at Dunbar is stated to have been 'biggit and foundit' by Cristiana de Brus, countess of Dunbar, this foundation probably taking place in 1240-8. The priory was dissolved in 1529 (I B Cowan and D E Easson 1976).

All that now remains is the tower for the church, which has been converted into a dovecot. It measures 27 by 12ft with random rubble walls and a single string course. In the interior there are about 200 nests cut at random in the walls. It is in good repair.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1915; J Whitaker 1948; D C Bailey and M C Tindall 1963

The date '1716' is present on the W jamb of the entrance to the dovecot.

A N Robertson MS

A three week excavation confirmed that this dovecot was a central tower for the presumed friary church. The walls, though elsewhere robbed out, showed it to be a building 39m long by 8m wide. The chancel and nave were of an equal size, 16m long. Traces of a yellow and green glazed tile floor were found in the chancel, possibly dating to the foundation of the friary. Buttressing was found on the N side of the building. There was no trace of ancilliary claustral buildings. A cemetery was found to the S of the church. To the N of the church there was evidence of medieval ploughing.

Sponsor : SDD-HBM

J Wordsworth 1981

The field of Friarscroft, Dunbar, was examined in advance of redevelopment so that an assessment of its archaeological potential could be made. By tradition this field has been ascribed to the Red (or Trinitarian) Friars who founded a house at Dunbar c 1240 (Cowan and easson 1976, 108). This tradition was accepted by the RCAMS (1924, 29) when they examined a dovecot tower that still stands in the centre of the field. The ashlar masonry incorporated in this building, two substantial arches inside and two gable ends facaing respectively E and W, were interpreted as forming part of the Trinitarian Friars' Church. As a result of exploratory trenches the extent of this friary church and part of a cemetery were uncovered. No cloister or other associated buildings were found, though only a portion of the field could be counted.

J Wordsworth 1983

Trial excavations in advance of a proposed housing development took place in July 1987. Trenches were cut in the open field adjacent to the standing tower of the Church of the Trinitarian Friary. Part of the friary graveyard was located and a possible western limit to it was defined.

D W Hall 1987



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