Did the monks work in the kitchen garden?

The Rule of St Benedict stated that monks should engage in manual labour as well as prayer - Ora et Labora (prayer and work). Although the monks of Lewes Priory were Benedictine (in that they followed the Rule of St Benedict) they were also Cluniac which meant that they came under the direct control of the Abbot of Cluny. Cluniac monks felt that their “work” was the glorification of God and so they employed servants to do most of the manual work, such as growing vegetables in the kitchen garden. The labour required of the monks, according to Benedict’s Rule, was ritualised at Cluny and this was probably also the case at Lewes. Between Pentecost (the 50th day after Easter), and November, as long as it was not a feast day, the monks in Cluny might be required to weed rows of peas and beans in the kitchen garden. Before starting work they would sing psalms together and on finishing the task they were given a special drink of wine flavoured with honey and absinthe!