The Melville Doocot (dovecot) sits in the grounds of Melville Woods, which is owned by James Jones & Sons. The doocot stands on the north side of the A91. Melville Doocot wasn’t purpose built. In fact, its original 18th century function was as a windmill for flour production and at some unknown date was converted to a doocot.
Doocots (or dovecots) were built by estate owners to keep nesting pigeons, which were then harvested for their eggs, meat and droppings. Reaching the highest nest boxes was often hazardous; hence an interesting revolving ladder, known as a "potence", was installed to allow the pigeon keeper to search the nest holes more easily. In the 19th century, two feeding platforms allowed relatively easy but airy access to all parts of the interior. The pivot still functions, though climbing the ladder probably isn’t recommended.
Under the care of the Cupar and North Fife Preservation Society (CNFPS), the doocot was first restored in the 1970s. In 2006-2007 access to the site was improved and the interior of the doocot was lovingly restored, with the support of James Jones & Sons and grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Fife Environment Trust.
More recently, James Jones & Sons worked with the Cupar and North Fife Preservation Society to restore the exterior of the doocot as its lime cost was in much need of restoration. Prior to works starting, advice was sought from The Scottish Lime Centre Trust, Charlestown, Fife. In addition to the work to the doocot, James Jones & Sons also cleared tree growth and carried out tree surgery around the doocot to allow it to be more visible from the road.
The exterior is always available to view. The interior can be accessed free of charge by key which is held by the residents of Windmill Cottage opposite.