Lost manuscript on bees

Playfair manuscript

This manuscript treatise on bees by the Rev James Playfair, minister of the parish of Bendochy, near Cupar Angus, from 1785 until his death in 1812, had been thought lost.

Charles Roger's 'Families of Roger, Playfair and Haldane' (second edition, 1875) states that James Playfair 'composed a work on the culture and management of bees, the manuscript of which was unhappily destroyed by fire in the printing office; he had bestowed twenty years on its preparation and could not be induced to make an effort towards retrieving his loss.'

The 'Fasti of the Church of Scotland' states that he 'possessed a large apiary and made a study of the natural history of the bee, wrote an account of his discoveries which he sent to a London publisher, who, it is said, appropriated it to his own purposes.'

Image: James Playfair. 'Of the care and knowledge of bees, their management and natural history, containing an account of the singular mode of generation by which they are produced'. 1804. [NLS shelfmark: MRB.214]

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