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Updated August 2020



Here are extracts from the new exhibition:

As the dovecote will be closed for the next few months, here is a taster of the new exhibition for 2020.

Step into the Tudor room where you will read about the early Willoughby family, see replica Tudor costumes, learn about Francis Willoughby’s lute book and find out about the foremost English architect of the sixteenth century, Robert Smythson.

One wall will feature a time-line showing events that happened during the House of Tudor which covered the years 1485 – 1603. 


The House of Tudor began when Henry Tudor defeated Richard lll of York at the Battle of Bosworth Field, which ended the War of the Roses.  Henry Vll declared himself King.

In the same year Sir Henry Willoughby, in an effort to improve his family fortune, abducted a widow and heiress, Jane Sacheverell and forced her to marry his brother Richard. She was contracted to marry William Zouche, who presented a petition to Parliament for the Willoughbys to be brought to trial, indicted and condemned. They settled out of court and Jane was granted a divorce. She finally married William in 1488 and another wife was found for Richard.

Each month you will have the opportunity to have a go at some Tudor crafts or play Tudor games. E.g. Make a Tudor rose, using crayons or tissue paper collage. The heraldic emblem of the Tudor rose is a combination of the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancashire, which represented the unification of the two Houses. This occurred when King Henry Vll married Elizabeth of York.

The House of Tudor 1485 - 1603.


Sir Henry Willoughby was a Knight of the Body who accompanied Margaret Tudor, Henry Vll’s daughter, through the north of England on her way to marry James 1V of Scotland.

In the same year Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa. This has been described as ‘the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world’. It was acquired by the King of France and is now the property of the French Republic. It has been on permanent display in the Louve Museum in Paris since 1797.

Each time you visit the dovecote you will have the opportunity to have a go at some Tudor crafts or play Tudor games e.g. skittles, chess, draughts or spinning tops.

If anyone has any of the above games that they could loan/give to the dovecote, we would be very grateful. They don’t have to be authentic Tudor games, but the older the better!  (i.e. not soldiers or Disney character skittles which is all I have).  Please don’t offer us anything that is precious or a family heirloom just in case a piece goes missing.


On 21st April 1509 Henry Vll died and at the King’s funeral, Sir Henry Willoughby was one of the Knights who watched over the King’s body.

At just 17 years of age Henry Vlll became the King of England. His inheritance included an England at peace, an England at the heart of Catholic Europe, a considerable fortune and five ships. His legacy also included a dockyard at Portsmouth, a smaller yard at Woolwich and a Clerk of Ships. Within the year, Henry had signed a warrant for the building of two new ships; one of which was the Mary Rose.

Meanwhile, Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.      (1508 – 1512)


A momentous decade, both for the Willoughbys and the Monarchy.

In the early 1540’s three children were born to Henry Willoughby and his wife Anne.  By the end of the decade, Sir Henry Willoughby had inherited  the Willoughby Estate, seen the death of his wife, followed just a year later, by the death of Sir Henry himself, leaving their three young children, Thomas, Margaret and Francis orphans. 

Meanwhile, King Henry Vlll got married again, and again, and again!   Do you remember the school days rhyme about Henry’s six wives?   ‘Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, lived’.  Anne of Cleves he divorced, Catherine Howard was beheaded and finally Catherine Parr outlived him. After Henry’s death in 1547, his son Edward Vl was crowned King.  

Activities for children.

Each time you visit the dovecote you will have the opportunity to try some Tudor crafts or play Tudor games, e.g.  Make a Tussie Mussie. The Tudors used scented flowers and herbs to hide bad smells and keep away ‘bad air’ which they thought carried diseases such as the plague. They pinned small, scented posies called tussie mussies or nosegays to their clothes.


Admission is free but donations are welcome

Open from 2.00pm to 4.30pm 2nd Sunday of the month, May to September

Guided walk around Wollaton Village 3.00pm

We also open especially for group visits. Please contact us via the feedback page. 



The Dovecote Museum garden again received a prestigious Green Flag award in 2019 recognising the achievement of a national standard for parks and green spaces.

The Britain in Bloom It's Your Neighbourhood awarded the garden the highest accolade of a Level 5 assessment "Outstanding".

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped to make this achievements possible.


 The lawn was parched in Summer 2018 but you can still see the initials F W in the lawn.

Some interesting fungi have been seen on the lawn

"Down a quiet cul-de-sac a short walk from the centre of Wollaton village lies Wollaton's hidden gem, the 16th century Dovecote where you will step into a remarkable building and back into Wollaton history. This is one of the main attractions in Wollaton but remains little known".

Admission is free - donations welcome

The museum receives no funding and relies entirely on visitor donations.


The Dovecote circa 1950



Individual group visits can also be arranged.


Around Wollaton Village and St Leonard's Church leaves the Dovecote at 3.00pm


We are building a separate website for the Dovecote Museum

http://www.spanglefish.com/WollatonVillageDovecote Museum

but in the meantime this page on the Society's website contains all you need to know

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