Dunbar, Friarscroft / Friar's Croft
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- HER number: MEL1568
- Site Name: Dunbar, Friarscroft / Friar's Croft
- Grid Reference: 367789 678839
- Civil Parish:
- Summary: 15th century former belfry tower of Trinitarian Friars Church, with dovecot
- Description: NT67NE 7.00 6779 7884
NT67NE 7.01 c. 678 788 Almshouse
(NT 6779 7884) Rems of (NAT) Monastery (NR) (Trinitarian) (NAT)
OS 6" map (1971)
(1) This dovecot was in a very good condition when seen in 1962.
Visited by OS (DT) 28 August 1962.
(2) 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).
(3)-(5) 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
(6) The date '1716' is present on the W jamb of the entrance to the dovecot.
A N Robertson MS
(7) 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
(8) 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
(9) 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
(10) former Historic Scotland Listed Building Description: 15th century. Former belfry tower of Red or Trinity Friars Church possibly intended to combine dovecot. Sandstone rubble, squared and coursed at the surviving upper staged tower. E and W gable walls with raggles of former steeply pitched nave and choir roofs, blocked arched openings traceable below. Low doorway on S side, originally taller and leading to cloisters. Slated roofs below N and S gable lines and S of coping. Various flight holes.
INTERIOR: heavy, semi-circular arches supporting central
tower with pigeon nesting boxes.
NOTES: Debate on function of the dovecot; originally dual purpose as
belfry and pigeon house seving monastery, or later adaption.
(11) The Tower and Doocot were photographed in 2003 by David Elder (see attached).
(12) The tower and doocot were de-listed as part of a dual designation project 2016. Remains a Scheduled Monument SM767.
- For more information contact: East Lothian Council HER
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Bibliographic reference: Youngs and Clark, S M and J. 1982. 'Medieval Britain in 1981', Medieval Archaeol Vol. 26 1982, p.164-227. 220.
- Bibliographic reference: Fawcett, R. 2002. Scottish medieval churches: architecture and furnishings. 75, 295, 332, 361.
- (1) Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Site Visit.
- (10) Bibliographic reference: Historic Scotland. Historic Scotland Listed Building.
- (11) Photograph: Elder, D. 2003. East Lothian Doocots.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: Cowan and Easson, I B and D E. 1976. 'Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man', 2nd edition. 107-8.
- (3) Bibliographic reference: RCAHMS. 1924. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eighth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of East Lothian. 29, No.42. figs 22, 64.
- (4) Bibliographic reference: Whitaker, J. 1938. 'Ancient dovecots of East Lothian: a survey', Trans E Lothian Antiq Fld Natur Soc Vol. 3 1938, p.1-22. 11.
- (5) Article in monograph: Bailey and Tindall, D C and M C. 1963. 'Dovecots of East Lothian', Trans Ancient Monuments Soc (New) Vol. 11 1963, p.23-52. 35.
- (6) Bibliographic reference: Robertson, A N. 1957. Old dovecots of Scotland. 144.
- (7) Bibliographic reference: Wordsworth, J. 1981a. 'Dunbar (Dunbar p), Trinitarian friary', Discovery Excav Scot 1981, p.24. 24.
- (8) Bibliographic reference: Wordsworth, J. 1984a. 'Friarscroft and the Trinitarians in Dunbar', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 113 1983, p.478-88. 478-88.
- (9) Bibliographic reference: Hall, D W. 1987a. 'Dunbar burgh and parish, Friarscroft, Trinitarian friary', Discovery Excav Scot 1987, p.31. 31.