Dovecotes ceased to be a matter of pride, and became socially unacceptable. Many were demolished, others were allowed to fall derelict. In some Dovecotes the pigeon entrance was blocked and were often converted for other purposes such as stables, granaries and cider houses.
A detailed study in Somerset concluded that roughly five per cent of the total have survived to our own day. Outside the regions devoted to pastoral farming, few dovecotes survived the Napoleonic Wars without conversion; but in some places – Herefordshire and Nottinghamshire for example – they continued in use much longer. After the wars there was a partial revival, but it did not last. By the middle of the nineteenth century other developments in farming, and changes in the law, had effectively put an end to dovecotes.
Though they may appear picturesque to modern eyes, dovecotes were functional buildings, almost always built in vernacular styles using local materials. However some of the later ones, particularly those belonging to large country houses, were consciously designed to be a feature in the landscape. Like other late Georgian garden features, they could be in any style that took the owner’s fancy, such as the mock-Gothic tower of Mounthooly Doocot, Aberdeenshire.