Refectory

Illustration © Andy Gammon 2010

The monks entered the refectory after washing their hands in a black marble basin in the cloister. They sat on benches, with the most important monks sitting on a raised platform. The rule of silence was maintained here and the monks communicated by hand signs.

However, one monk read aloud to them from the scriptures, a religious book or the Rule of St Benedict.

The Rule required that the monks had a simple diet of vegetables, fish and poultry. In later years rules were not always strictly observed and meat was consumed. The monks drank ale brewed at the Priory.

The monks ate at mid-day throughout most of the year, except in summer when they ate in the evening. The food was prepared in their nearby kitchen and cooked in a massive oven over 5 metres wide. This oven survived until 1845. The Prior had his own lodgings where he entertained important guests.