Nature's Little Helpers
Bee keeping was a vital part of the village. Bees produce two things that were in much demand in the Medieval and renaissance period– honey and wax. Beeswax candles were prized because burning such candles gives a pure and odourless light, unlike tallow candles. To monasteries and churches, this quality was very important and monasteries became the centers of beekeeping.
Bees were also a vital part of the wine industry. Fermented honey was used to make alcoholic mead, also known as a honey wine, in areas of Europe where vines would not grow. Honey was also the main source of sweetness in food and treasured for its delightful sweetness.
Bees were kept in skeps – upside-down conical baskets with a small hole allowing bees to enter and exit. Skeps were usually kept in a sheltered place, to protect the bees from bad weather and make honey collection easier. The skeps would be kept in a bee house or small indents in the walls of the monastery where they could be monitored and protected.
Preserving the History of Community