The Pigeon Cote
Pigeonniers of France: Brittany
Day 2: St. Coulumb & Lillemer
|The dovecote of Lillemer
17th century of rubble in a beehive design
with 280 ~ checkboard nest holes
|The dovecote St. Coulomb
Rubble of beehive design with
beautifully restored cupola
Our first dovecote we were to find using Dr. Jean Auffret's book was that of Lillemer. It is an exceptionally nice find, in part because it is open to the public, but also because of its very old rubble beehive style. It is quite easy to find, seeing that it is sign posted by the town and located near city hall and just behind the church. It is completely accessible.
According to legend, elves had a secret passage to the dovecote and hid a treasure therein. While we checked more than 50 holes, we were only rewarded with cobwebs, so the elves hid the treasure well, indeed.
It belonged to the church, which may account for it being somewhat smaller than most. The nest holes, while of the standard checkerboard pattern without landing ledges, do not curve alternately right and left inside as definitively as is usual for dovecotes of this type, but are rather more bulbous toward the interior. The interior is profoundly beehive shaped, becoming increasingly narrow from bottom to top. There are 12 rows of nest holes with 24 per row except where interrupted by the door, where there are 23. The total number would be just over 280 holes, making this a rather small dovecote for the period and area.
It is documented to be of the 17th century. It is very similar in design and overall construction to La Guimorais, being of rock rubble with a typical beehive shape, but lacking the gorgeous cupola.
Dovecote St. Coulomb
This day brightened our spirits, as we found the St. Coulomb dovecote quite by accident driving the scenic highway along the coast just to the southwest of La Guimorais. While it is on private property, it can be seen from the road on the south side of the road, away from the ocean. It has a beautifully restored cupola so the owners obviously care for the grand dovecote and it is here to stay for a while. This style of cupola has become in my mind the quintessential French style. While some cupolas found on the English dovecotes are attractive, they just don’t approach the French taste and respect for style. Otherwise, the style of the dovecote is quite standard and the new cupola, even though fabricated of newer material, may be grander now then it originally was. Who knows? It would appear to be of the 17th or 18th century, but this is educated speculation only.
Our next day took us in the vicinity of Dinan.