Rosslyn Chapel has taken delivery of four hives and re-established a connection between the historic building and bees, which stretches back nearly 600 years.
The hives have been provided by Webster Honey, a company based in Kinross, which was set up by Daniel Webster and his partner Emily-Kate in 2016. Through their sponsorship programme, schools, businesses and other venues have all successfully hosted hives, with beekeepers tending the hives every 7-10 days during the honeybee season.
This new partnership with the Chapel celebrates a very historic link with the building, which was founded in 1446. During a major conservation project, which lasted from 1997 until 2013, the lower shaft of a stone finial, high up on the north side of the Chapel, was found to have been an active beehive and was full of old honeycomb. A small hole in the centre of a finely carved flower provided access for bees into a large cavity and was intended to provide a safe haven, as they were considered to be sacred. During further work, an additional twenty-one hives were discovered.
The four new hives were welcomed by pupils in Roslin Primary School’s Eco-Committee. Their artwork has been incorporated into special designs for the hives and they have given each hive a name.
Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Webster Honey to reintroduce bees at Rosslyn Chapel. Unlike the earlier bees, our new hives will be at ground level, in a quiet spot in the Chapel grounds where the bees can enjoy access to Roslin Glen and can be tended by Webster’s beekeepers. All being well, we would hope to have the Chapel’s very own honey available this autumn.’
Daniel Webster, of Webster Honey, said: ‘We are really pleased to be working in this amazing setting. We were also very happy to welcome another school on board and we look forward to carrying out our educational classes throughout the season about the important role bees play in our ecosystem. With over 300 hives (and growing) all over Scotland, we are committed to supporting the Scottish bee population. Honeybees are essential to the future of our country and environment, and it’s great to see so many young people getting involved and interested.’
Photos: Rob McDougall