There was a dovecote at Carew Manor in Tudor times which stood in Pigeon House Meadow, which may have been to the east of the present site. It was probably demolished and replaced by the existing building between 1707 and 1727, when the first Baronet, Sir Nicholas Carew, reorganised the grounds around the house. The existing Dovecote almost certainly dates from the early eighteenth century. It originally contained abut 1360 nesting boxes built into the inner face of the wall, giving it a complete honeycomb-like structure. The birds came and went through the wooded turret at the apex of the roof. The large rotating ladder or potence was used by the keepers who raided the nesting boxes to provide the Carews with eggs and meat. The dovecote is exceptionally large, as most buildings of this type contain under 1000 nesting boxes, and it may have been erected as a commercial operation rather then simply to supply the house with fresh meat.
The first floor, which is not original, was probably inserted to reduce the capacity of the building as the nesting boxes below it have been bricked up. It is not known when this was done or when the dovecote went out of use, although this had almost certainly happened before the mid-nineteenth century.