St Edmundsbury Launches its own Honey

04th January 2024

St Edmundsbury Cathedral is following in its monastic tradition with the launch of a new product in its shop – honey collected from beehives on the cathedral roof.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral launches its own honey – from the hives on the roof.

The cathedral has four hives on its roof which means the bees forage throughout the Abbey Gardens and historic ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund – just as the bees of the Benedictine monks would have done in medieval times.

St Edmundsbury cathedral launches its own honey from hives on its roof - just as its benedictine predecessors would

Honeybees have an average foraging radius of two to three miles, so the flavour and colour of the honey they produce depends on the type of flowers from which the bees gather nectar. The specific floral makeup of the honey will change from season to season, but it is usually a very dark, rich colour with a complex, caramel taste which finishes in an almost molasses mouthfeel with well-balanced sweetness.

The honey is harvested late in the season to ensure the bees have access to the widest possible array of flora. It is carried down narrow stone steps and then spun out of the frames before being put into jars. At no stage is the honey fine-filtered or heated above 35 degrees Celsius (the temperature inside a beehive) so that it goes into the jars with all the pollen enzymes and antimicrobial goodness still intact and to give a real taste of the Cathedral and its environs.

Enterprises Retail Manager Jane Harrison said:

“We are very pleased to be launching Cathedral honey. 

“To have a product for sale in the shop which is made only a few hundred metres from where it is sold is quite unique. I know it will be a big hit with local residents and members of the Cathedral community who will enjoy the idea of the bees producing honey on top of our very own Cathedral roof.”

There are two types of honey available to customers – runny and soft-set and jars of Cathedral Honey can be purchased for just £8.99.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral is the third cathedral to make honey from bees in its own hives. Manchester and Ripon cathedrals both have hives and create a variety of honey-based products to raise funds.