Beekeeping and Honey Production 1580 – 1660

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SKU: 1858040892 Category:



Stuart, Rob


From the “English Agriculture 1580 – 1660 First Series”. “A number of experts wrote treatises on beekeeping during this period and disagreed on many points. Part of the variation may be due to regional differences probably partially climatic and partially historic in origin.

Three short treatises are reproduced at the end of this book; those of William Lawson, a northern bee master and garden writer who, by his own account, was engaged in developing innovative methods first published in 1618; Gervase Markham, a noted plagiarist and compiler but probably without hands on experience first published in 1613; and Henry Best’s farm books, manuscripts he wrote for his sons on how to run the farm.


Best was a wealthy and successful farmer near Malton in Yorkshire writing in 1640-42. Two other more substantial but rambling works which have also been used are Charles Butler’s Female Monarchy and John Levett’s Ordering of Bees. Butler’s work is written in a most peculiar vernacular which might have indicated a Dutch or possible Irish origin but when specifying the best skip makers he gives one near Reading and another near Oxford indicating Butler was based in the Thames valley. He spends much time discoursing about signs of the zodiac and other extraneous or marginal matter and much of his material is drawn from classical Mediterranean authors or marginal matter and much of his material is drawn from classical Mediterranean authors making it suspect for period English practice.


Levett’s work is laid out as a discussion between 2 Italian named characters leading to some caution in its use. Some material has also been drawn from Thomas Tussers 500 points of good husbandry. Tusser was a failed East Anglian Tenant Farmer. Best was acquainted with the works of both Levett and Tusser. The works of Remnant and Southern were also consulted.”


Further details:

Softcover: 52 pages.
Language: English
Illustrations: Black and White line drawings.
ISBN-13: 1858040892
Product Dimensions: 21.0 x 15.0 x 0.5 cm

Staff Comments:

Contents; Introduction; Part 1 Beekeeping methods 1580-1660; Part 2 A modern Beekeepers Commentary; Part 3 Three selected short period texts on Beekeeping; Abbreviations and Bibliography.

Additional information

Weight 0.08 kg


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