This huge room was the dormitory, or dorter, where the monks slept. It dates to the 13th century and was originally a single open space without any heating. Monks slept communally and their single beds were arranged in rows along the side walls.
The floor was tiled and the walls were covered in white plaster, painted with thin red lines to simulate masonry joints. The room was lit by the tall, thin lancet windows, the lower parts of which were closed using wooden shutters. In 1369, the roof was covered with wooden shingles, but by the time the abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1538 these had been replaced with tiles.
The small fireplaces date to the late Middle Ages, when the dormitory had probably been divided into individual cubicles, providing the monks with more comfort and privacy.
After the suppression of the abbey, the dormitory was used as stables or a barn, with the roof surviving until the 18th century.
( photo caption )
- The interior of the dormitory looking north. This drawing was made by Samuel Grimm in 1783, shortly before the roof collapsed.