The Pigeon Cote
Pigeonniers of France: Brittany
Day 13: Area east of Vannes
September 22nd was not the most successful of our dovecote hunting days. We had identified four dovecotes on the map, but were only able to find three of the sites, and then we were only able to get pictures of two of them from a long way off, since they are on private property that was not posted as accessible. But with that said, this is what we found.
We were able to locate and take a peek-a-boo picture of the dovecote of Tremohar, as it can be seen from the public road. Unfortunately, it is on private property and not marked for public access. It would indeed have been a treat to peek inside this octagon-shaped dovecote, dating back to the 15th century. An octagon is a very unique shape for a dovecote from that early period. What intrigued us more, however, is that the nestholes are reportedly made of large earthenware jars, much like the dovecotes of the Middle East. Alas, we could not verify this, but we still have visions of a dovecote filled with jars for the pigeons to nest in.
To find the dovecote, go east out of Le Gorvello on the D7 to a road sign posted Petite Tremohar, and turn left. The dovecote can just be seen through the trees near the house. The house is a couple centuries younger than the dovecote, being built in the 18th century.
Dovecote of Du Doyenne.
We did locate the dovecote of the Du Doyenne, near Peaule. It can be found when leaving Peaule going east toward Redon on the D20. Just as you exit the town, you will see seveal sport fields on your right. Pass by the sport fields and walk to the very last play field. You will see a wall surrounding the property, but it is low enough to see over and get the peek-a-boo view of the dovecote.
The dovecote is massive, supporting 991 nestholes, and is a bit unusual in two respects for the "behive" type dovecote.. First, it does not have an opening in the roof for light, and second, the nestholes are set in vertical lines rather than in the much more standard checkerboard pattern. From the stonework and overall style, it appears to be of the 16th century.
Other dovecotes in the area reported by Dr. Jean Auffret in Colombiers et Pigeonniers en Bretagne Profonde are noted below. We have provided small thumbnail images from the book to help you identify them. More detail on these dovecotes and larger images are in the book, which we highly recommend for any enthusiast. And of course, if you have any information on any of these or others you know of in the area that you would like to share, we would love to post it.
While we were able to locate Keravenan in Questembert, we were not able to see the house from the public right of way. It is far from the gate and the grounds are very heavily wooded. It was built in 1763, and is an old rectangular house, with the 60 or so nestholes built into the front of the house just below the roof overhang. While not common to have the nestholes built right into the main house, there are other examples that we did find and photograph. One particularly nice example is Balengauerd, which we found the following day.
Visit the area between Vannes and Rennes.