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Mavisbank House, Dovecot

Dovecot (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Mavisbank House, Dovecot

Classification Dovecot (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Doo'cot; New Saughton Hall; Mavisbank House Policies

Canmore ID 51713

Site Number NT26NE 54.06

NGR NT 29392 65742

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Midlothian
  • Parish Lasswade
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District Midlothian
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT 28807 65146 (Mavisbank House) A re-assessment was undertaken of the designed landscape and analytical history of Mavisbank House. Compilation of a gazetteer of landscape features and built structures represents a comprehensive upgrading of previous assessments.

A previously unrecorded ice house was discovered below the existing game larder; well preserved and linked to the game larder. A possible 'tump' or stand of trees forming a visual terminus to the northern vista was also identified.

Assessment was undertaken of the doocot forming the 'eye-catcher' at the E end of the main vista. Low walls on either side had been reduced in height; patchings on either side of the doocot tower suggested that these walls had been shaped in order to form a silhouette on the skyline as seen from the house.

Initial assessment of the walled garden confirmed that this had originally been oval, but designed so that it appeared circular when viewed from the house. It was deduced that there had been a further vista aligned on the centre of the S frontage of the house that bisected the walled garden.

The SW annexe to the walled garden, now triangular in form, had most probably been rectangular originally, as suggested by Roy's map of c 1750. The surviving gazebo was deduced to have been on the central axis of this former arrangement, an axis that may also have been aligned on the doocot at the E end of the policies.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

T Addyman 2004

Architecture Notes

NT26NE 54.06 29392 65742

(NT 2938 6574) Dovecot (NAT)

OS 6" map (1938)

This cylindrical dovecot was probably adapted from an old tower. The roof, missing, must have been a ridge one as the walls rise east and west with a round curve to become lower in front and behind (N and S); where the rise begins, on each side, is a skewput. It has no nests.

A N Robertson 1957

This tower is generally as described. It has two doors, one above the other on its S side while high up on the E is a small, barred, circular window. There are portions of walling on the E and W sides showing that it has been built into the boundary well. No trace of nesting boxes could be found and it is more likely to have been a watch tower. (It is listed by the SDD as a (?) 18th century dovecot).

Visited by OS (SFS) 23 October 1975


Built 1738 as terminal point of a vista up through hedges to the top of a hill.


Scottish Records Office - Penicuik Papers - information on layout of garden


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