Virginia Barton

Buckfast Abbey bees without honey


Catholic Herald, 28 April 1989


Review: For the Love of Bees by Lesley Bill (David & Charles, £9.95)


Although this book is subtitled “The Story of Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey”, it is the bees that hold centre stage. Which, I suspect, is just what Brother Adam would prefer.

The outline of Brother Adam’s life is the skeleton on which to hang the all-important work. He came to Buckfast aged 11 in 1910. The routine of lessons, recreation, and the building of the Abbey, in those pre-first World War days seems improbably remote.




It was ill-health that propelled him into the world of bees – more outdoor exercise was prescribed – and he never looked back.

The book is full of technical terms and know-how, but even the ignorant novice like myself is infected by enthusiasm for these most productive of creatures.

More of a handbook for bee-keeper than a biography of a well-known personality, it would be an excellent gift for anyone who keeps, or is intending to keep, bees.

The author Lesley Bill has worked with Brother Adam for several years and her studies in this field make her well qualified to produce such an authoritative volume. The only ingredient missing is the taste of honey.




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