History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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212
from another spring, a subterraneous water course, which may still be traced to the head of the pool, and was formerly the reservoir ol ihe mill on the north side of Pigeon-house Croft.
The Pigeon-house, though clearly another monument of monkish wealth and luxury, was probably one of the last of their labours, and had not been erected many years before the dissolution of the Priory. It was built in the form of a cross, and still discovers much ingenuity and labour in the construction of the pigeon-holes, which are all of hewn chalk stone. These holes were numbered considerably above 8000. The flight of pigeons which such a dove-house must have contained impoverished the land. To the husbandman they were as sacred as the divinity they typify : conscious of security, they anticipated the sickle from field to field.
These dove-cotes were formerly more numerous, and of much greater extent than at the present time, inasmuch as they were the means of affording fresh food to the owners and occupiers of the land at a period when the gun and chase were the only means of providing it, irrespective of this source, for use in the winter months, as it was the custom to slaughter animals intended for winter consumption in October; and on the occasion of farms being let, to stipulate conditions as to the number of birds to be sent to the owners from the respective dove-cotes on them. This no doubt was a heavy tax in those days to the tillers of the soil. Dove-cotes were frequently placed in the vicinity of each other,—an instance in this neighbour­hood may be adduced: on a farm occupied by Messrs John and Eichard Brown, adjacent to Patcham Church (Lord Abergavenny being the owner), may be seen one of these dove-cotes, which has existed for centuries, the holes of which are of hewn chalk stone; and another similar in character formerly existed not far from this, and near the site on which is erected the new Vicarage, occupied by the Rev. John Allen, the Vicar. There are instances
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