The Chapter House
The chapter house was second only to the church as the focal point of monastic life.
Monks assembled here each morning to hear readings, including a chapter of the Rule of St Benedict, hence the room's name. Business matters were discussed, deeds or charters sealed and witnessed by all, and monks confessed their faults and were assigned penance.
Little remains of it, but excavations confirm that it was originally a simple apsidal-ended building. It remained largely unchanged after completion around 1100, although a century later, it was extensively modernised and given new windows.
Immediately south of the chapter house are the remains of the inner parlour. Silence was the normal rule and this was one of the very few rooms where monks were allowed to talk about essential matters. A doorway in its east wall led to the infirmary or monastic hospital.
Important members of the monastic community were buried in the chapter house. During excavations in 1978-1980 six graves were discovered. It is likely that one of them is that of Henry, second Abbot in 1096. According to the Chronicle of Battle Abbey he was buried in 1102 'before the president's seat in the chapter house.'
( photo caption )
- The 12th-century seal of the abbey, showing the
west front of the church.