During January I have been ploughing my way through Mr Woodley’s articles in the British Bee Journal from 1889 – 1897. Last night I came across an important clue to the identity of Mr Woodley’s watcher.
As a bit of a recap from earlier blogs, Mr Woodley had two apiaries in the Parish of Beedon. Mr Woodley had one apiary at his home at Worlds End and an out-apiary at Stanmore. Mr Woodley employed a man to watch his bees at Stanmore. This is what the watcher had to do:
“All he has to do is to watch for swarms, hive them into straw skeps, mark the hive the swarm issued from, and carry the bees to the home apiary — about two miles — after swarming is over for the day. For this service I pay 10s. or 12s. per week for the job, wet or fine. If weather is dull and cool, the “watcher” does a little gardening or any other job required to fill up his time.”
[NBTW 3 December 1908]
Following-on from the 1908 quote above, there is one caveat I would like to add about the identity of Mr Woodley’s watcher; during the lifetime of the out-apiary , I believe Mr Woodley had more than one watcher. I suppose watchers die and watchers move on to better things.
This is the important clue I discovered, Mr Woodley writes:
“…during the winter months I leave that apiary in charge of an octogenarian bee-keeper, whose flagging interest in the bees I manage to arouse when Christmas comes round by a substantial Christmas box.”
[NBTW 21 January 1897]
The old man sitting on a chair in the photograph appears to fall in the category of an octogenarian (someone in their eighties) or at least appears close to being eighty. How many octogenarians were there in a small hamlet of Stanmore in 1897? Well I checked census returns this morning and there was only one and his name was Enoch Brind. He was born in 1816 and died 1903; Enoch was 81 when Mr Woodley wrote on 21 January 1897.
Another fact (which I will discuss further in a later blog) is Mr Woodley started his out-apiary in 1890 and it ceased in 1915. Mr Woodley looks like a man in 40’s or 50’s in the photograph above (man kneeling with hive), which I am guessing puts the time period on that photograph between 1890 and 1905? This time period falls within Enoch Brind’s lifetime.
Now Dear Reader, if you are a descendant of Enoch Brind then please go and check the old family photograph album. And tell me whether the old man in the chair is truly Enoch, Mr Woodley’s swarm-watcher.