North Herts by John Hill

I had occasion to visit Gloucestershire with my wife in August for a two day stay at a very pleasant hotel near Tewkesbury. The intention was to look at the countryside in the triangle Gloucester, Tewkesbury, and Ross-on Wye. Travelling back from Ledbury, a lovely "High Street" town, we saw a signpost on the B4215 which stated "To the Bee Shelter and Hartpury Church"; it was one of those 'Brown Signs' put up by English Heritage. So being inquisitive we followed the directions to the Church, wondering what on earth-- was a bee shelter? After about 4 miles in the middle of nowhere, but in beautiful rolling Cotswold countryside, we stopped at the Church. Another sign said that the bee shelter was at the back of the Churchyard. We looked around the church first, this was a Grade I listed building with modern stained glass but with mediaeval openings near the porch, which housed an unusual "Green Man" carving opposite of which was an unknown figure. We then walked through the ancient Churchyard past enormous trees and strange tombstones, whereupon we saw the Bee Shelter. According to the literature, from the Church, this was a nationally important structure regarded as unique by the International Bee Research Assn. The structure was 8ft. high, and 30ft. long and housed compartments for 33 boles to house straw bee skeps. As we know these skeps became redundant once the wooden hive had developed. The Shelter as such was built in Nailsworth, near Gloucester, by a stone mason, Peter Tuffley between 1824 and 1852. It was threatened with destruction in 1968, so it was rescued and moved to Hartpury Agricultural College,--because of further deterioration English Heritage restored the Bee Shelter, and found a permanent site in the Churchyard, where it now stands. It was opened in 2002. Made from lovely Cotswold stone, from Minchinhampton Common, it is a most elaborate structure. Its size suggests it was made by the Stone-mason as a "test piece". There is no evidence that bees were ever housed in it.

The whole site is well worth a visit, a wonderful 'day out'!. Anyone seriously interested, I do have a small amount of literature they can borrow. [Ed. details can be found here]. Also, I am sending the editor a photograph which hopefully he can 'scan' into this Newsletter.

Now to our meeting in October, at the usual place... The Friends' Meeting House, Sollershott East, Letchworth at 7.30 p.m. on October 10th (second Tuesday). We shall be having an open discussion on members' experience over the season re: yields and treatments and some members will be bringing unusual "Bits and Tips", for your interest. Come along and meet new faces,... we have some new members this year, and we look forward to meeting them. I am hoping that Rosemary F. will be serving up examples of her wonderful cooking ability for your delectation. ("Flattery gets you nowhere").

And so finally:-
"Besides the art of getting things done,
There is the nobel art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of the non-essentials".

"If it ain't broke, don't mend it!!!"
(Anon, again).

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