Prior to the development of the modern beehive in around 1850, bee boles were the only practical way to keep bees here in the British Isles. The weather was just too bad so people used these bee houses to house their bees for the honey and beeswax.
In the days before sugar bee keeping was very common, also the wax was used for making candles, tithes/rents sometimes being paid in honey and or beeswax.
Bee boles are found across the whole of the British Isles. Other names were bee holes, bee shells (Cumbria), bee keps (Cumbria), bee niches (Derbyshire), bee walls (Gloucestershire), bee houses (Yorkshire), bee boxes (Kent).
This bee bole is not an original but was built by the Leeds Beekeepers Association on the Temple Newsam estate.