History in Structure

Bee Boles

A Grade II Listed Building in St. Teath, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.608 / 50°36'28"N

Longitude: -4.7741 / 4°46'26"W

OS Eastings: 203814

OS Northings: 82366

OS Grid: SX038823

Mapcode National: GBR N0.C3HL

Mapcode Global: FRA 07WG.HWW

Plus Code: 9C2QJ65G+59

Entry Name: Bee Boles

Listing Date: 4 May 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1433160

ID on this website: 101433160

Location: Cornwall, PL33

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Teath

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Teath

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Tagged with: Bee bole

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A farmyard wall with bee boles constructed of Delabole stone and slate, of late-C18 or early-C19 date.


A set of five bee boles in a farmhouse garden wall, probably of C18 or C19 date, although one bole was rebuilt in the late C20.

DESCRIPTION: constructed of Delabole slate and slate stone the bee boles are set within a rubble stone wall approximately 130cm in height. The boles take the form of five slate shelves divided by four ‘V’- shaped splayed piers of approximately nine 9 slender courses of stone, narrowest at the bottom and progressively wider towards the top. Each compartment is 40cm (16 inch) tall by 50cm (19 inch) wide and deep. Each bole was used for the storage of a bee colony, usually in a skep. The bee boles are lined with slate to the top, bottom and sides, projecting slightly from the wall.


The manor of ‘Duuenant’ was recorded at Domesday when it was held by Blohin from Count Robert of Mortain, 2nd Earl of Cornwall (c.1031-1090). The manor was probably centred on Dannonchapel, and this name was first recorded in 1306, the ‘chapel’ suffix indicating that a manorial chapel once stood in the vicinity. The current farm buildings date from the C18 to C20, or possibly slightly earlier, and the farmhouse and garden walls are shown on the Tithe Map of 1840. In 1958, the bee boles were recorded for the Register of Bee Boles by the National Beekeeping Museum and at this time it was considered that they were at least 100 years old. Bee boles were built as an integral part of a wall, open only at the front, in which a straw skep (holding a bee colony) was placed to shield it from wind and rain. The wall is shown on the tithe map of 1843 and may date to the construction of the adjacent farmhouse, c. late C18 or early C19. The farm became redundant in the later C20.

The farm was bought by the National Trust in 1991 and incorporated into the Cornwall North Coast Path (later part of the South West Coast Path), by which time it was semi- ruinous. The bee boles were recorded at this time, one of which “needs attention but is almost complete.” A survey of 1999 by the International Bee Research Association stated that the bee boles had been restored. In the C21, the farmhouse and farm buildings have further deteriorated, although the bee boles are largely complete.

Reasons for Listing

The bee bole wall at Dannonchapel Farm, St Teath, Cornwall is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the structure is built using a Cornish method once that is not only structurally sound but also provides distinctive ‘V’ splayed piers in local stone as an interesting if modest example of the vernacular vocabulary;
* Historic interest: bee boles are a distinctive physical record of an historic agricultural activity;
* Rarity: bee bole structures are relatively uncommon survivals;
* Degree of survival: these bee boles are largely intact.

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