Charles Butler – “The Father of British Beekeeping” – 400 Years Celebration

Charles Butler 1600 – 1647 “The Father Of English Beekeeping”

We are beekeepers who are very concerned about the decline of all pollinators, and recognise the urgent need for sustainable, biodiverse, practical and educational solutions to reverse their decline and to re-establish the biodiversity needed for bees and other pollinators.

We take our inspiration from Revd. Charles Butler, Pastor at Wootton St Lawrence Church [1600 to 1647], the Father of English Beekeeping. Charles Butler was a scholarly country parson who was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. He had wide-ranging interests and a deep curiosity about the natural world, and he recorded his discoveries methodically. He used patient observation to record the highly practical craft of beekeeping as well as musical composition. Charles published “The Feminine Monarchie” in 1623. It is the classic beekeeping text, and it included his famous “Melissomelos” – the Bees’ Madrigal. Original copies of his book are rare and highly prized. His observations, methodology, and study of the environment is very much part of the beekeepers’ teachings worldwide today which is why Charles Butler is known as the “Father of English Beekeeping”.

The Charles Butler Foundation aims to:

  • Promote beekeeping and pollinators though an annual Bee Fayre at Wootton St Lawrence, Basingstoke where Revd. Charles Butler was the Pastor in the early to mid 17th century .
  • Tell the complete bee story (honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees) by providing education and a growing understanding of the importance of pollinators, and the need to create and protect sustainable biodiverse environments.
  • Promote beekeeping and enhance pollinators by encouraging the planting and maintenance of wildlife habitats working with local communities, schools and wildlife groups.
  • Help people to overcome their fear of bees though ‘Bee Experience Days’, working with local beekeeping groups.
  • Provide educational training support to encourage future generations of beekeepers and wildlife activists.

The first and important objective of our fundraising is to allow us to put on the very special Charles Butler 400 Celebrations Bee Fayre on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August 2023

Bee Fayre Celebrations

Our aim is to bring communities together; to tell them the bee story (honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees) and to help them understand the need to create a sustainable environment for bees to thrive. We combine telling the ‘bee story’ inside the church with presentations and workshops, and outside in the Church Meadows with specialists, beekeepers and stallholders, to engage with the children, families, and adults who attend. It has proven to be very successful.

Charles Butler 400 Celebrations

For 2023 we have raised the bar to engage international speakers and performers inside the church and create a centrepiece multi-chamber “Beehive” educational centre in the Meadows. We are proud to have stallholders representing bee craft, honey and beeswax, wildlife and the environment, and a children’s / young adult activity centre.

Highlights include:

Stile Antico – International early music vocal ensemble who will be performing Charles Butler Bee Madrigal.

Peter Kosmuz – Vice President Apimoindia: Professional leader of breeding program for Carniolan honeybee in Slovenia

Boštjan Noč – President Slovenian Beekeepers Association: Slovenia proposal to United Nations (UN) assembly who then adopted 20 May as World Bee Day.

Meriet Duncan – Beekeeper, author and storyteller

Chris Park – UK leading authority on Charles Butler traditional beekeeping and heritage, folklore and history and storyteller

Meriem Hammel – UAE Dubai Beekeepers: Sustainable beekeeping in extreme climate conditions.

Revd John Owen – Published the first new edition of “The Feminine Monarchie” in 2017

Outside in the Church Meadows:

Be enthralled and excited to talk with specialists, beekeepers and stallholders who want to share their knowledge and to promote and tell their important part of the bee story with you; and, of course, you will experience the centrepiece Beehive multi-chamber education centre, supported by beekeepers who wish to share their love of honey bees with you as the story unfolds inside the Beehive!

We want you to experience the secret lives of bees, and we want you to work with us and help us create a sustainable future in which bees can thrive today and in future generations – just as Charles Butler observed and recorded in “The Feminine Monarchie” 400 years ago!

Your support and donations will enable beekeepers from around the world to share with our communities the environmental importance of beekeeping, and give us the momentum to take the Charles Butler Foundation forward and achieve our wider objectives for all bees. In addition, your pledges and donations will help us to make a difference to our nominated Charities.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the very special Charles Butler 400 Bee Fayre Celebrations on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August 2023.

For more details of the event please go to our website

To make a pledge and secure a seat for one of the four sessions CLICK HERE.

Early booking is strongly recommended!!

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