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Beekeeping and Honey Production. 1580-1660

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by Rob Stuart
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Historical rabbit holes, for those who are inclined.

These slender booklets from Historical Management Associates are the work of an organization dedicated to historical re-enactment in the UK. They are written with a stickler’s attention to historical precision and a conviction that nothing is too arcane to investigate. Some of the books are simple transcriptions of period manuscripts; others represent significant original research, as in Cattle Farming and Grazing Management, which is 52 pages long but cites 36 sources, many of them published in the 17th century.

From the introduction:

“A number of experts wrote treatise 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. Butler describing comb supports inside the hive specifically says that every county has its own fashion.

“Three short treatise 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 far. Best was a wealthy and successful farmer near Malton in Yorkshire writing in 1640-42.”

Staplebound pamphlet. 52 pages.

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