Dormitory (extension)

Illustration © Andy Gammon 2010

From here you can see what remains of the monks' dormitory (dorter). Like many of the Priory buildings, the dormitory was extended as the number of monks increased.

The monks slept in their clothes on straw mattresses. They did, however, change their shoes for warmer night shoes lined with fur. In this way they were ready for the church services they had to attend during the night. The Rule of St Benedict required that a lamp be kept burning in the dormitory throughout the night but no fire was allowed here. Stairs from the dormitory led to the church via the cloister and a bridge connected the dormitory to the toilet block. All the monks, including the Prior, initially slept here and the dormitory would have been one large room when it was first built. The monks had very few possessions and even less privacy. Later on the monks probably had their own cubicles and the Prior slept in his own lodgings.

Underneath the original dormitory (to the north) was the warming house. Here the monks could warm themselves. This was the only room in the Priory, apart from the infirmary and the kitchen, where a fire was allowed.