Freestanding dovecotes are more common though. Medieval Dove cotes were usually round and massively built in stone. The circular plan enabled squabs (young doves or pigeons) to be collected from the nesting-boxes by a ladder attached to a revolving pole with arms, known as a potence. Examples survive at Dunster, Somerset (St. George’s Church) and Kinwarton, Warwickshire (National Trust).
However in Wales and the far west of England, dovecotes could have a domed stone roof, such as the Knights Templar dovecote in Garway, Herefordshire, built in 1326.
If dovecotes were timber-framed, they had to be square, rectangular or polygonal. With a little ingenuity, a potence could still be used within some of these, for example the polygonal dovecote at Erddig, Wrexham, Clwyd (National Trust). Brick began to be used in the 16th century and lent itself to a variety of shapes, though a round plan remained popular.