Crail Priory Doocot
This doocot (or dovecote in English) is an excellent example of 16th Century beehive doocot used to house pigeons to provide food in the lean winter months.
The building has recently undergone an extensive restoration which included a reconstructed interior, complete with a new potence ladder for accessing the nesting boxes, lighting and information boards.
Read the full story of the restoration: The Crail Prory Doocot a Photographic Journal
2022 Doocot Restoration exhibit in Crail Museum Burgh Room
More information can also be found on the Crail Preservation Society website at: https://crailpreservationsociety.org/doocot/
There are around 700 nest boxes in the doocot. Not only were eggs and meat used for food but the pigeon droppings were collected for use in tanning leather and making gunpowder!
In 1503 King James IV ordered all local lords to build doocots to help provide food for the community. But as the years progressed there were problems with landlords complaining that pigeons from neighbouring properties were eating grain before it was harvested. By 1617 another law was necessary restricting doocots to owners of land which produced enough grain within 2 miles of the doocot. This was to ensure that the pigeons fed on the landowner's own crops.
When you have completed your tour of the Doocot, return up the path to Nethergate and turn left.