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Rambler's Top100
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Project Gutenberg's Encyclopedia, vol. 1 ( A - Andropha

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The most important group of buildings is naturally that devoted 
to monastic life.  This includes two Cloisters, the great 
cloister surrounded by the buildings essentially connected with 
the daily life of the monks,---the church to the south, the 
refectory or frater-house here as always on the side opposite 
to the church, and farthest removed from it, that no sound or 
smell of eating might penetrate its sacred precincts, to the 
east the dormitory, raised on a vaulted undercroft, and the 
chapter-house adjacent, and the lodgings of the cellarer to the 
west.  To this officer was committed the provision of the 
monks' daily food, as well as that of the guests.  He was, 
therefore, appropriately lodged in the immediate vicinity of 
the refectory and kitchen, and close to the guest-hall.  A 
passage under the dormitory leads eastwards to the smaller 
or infirmary cloister, appropriated to the sick and infirm 
monks.  Eastward of this cloister extend the hall and chapel of 
the infirmary, resembling in form and arrangement the nave and 
chancel of an aisled church.  Beneath the dormitory, looking 
out into the green court or herbarium, lies the ``pisalis'' 
or ``calefactory,'' the common room of the monks.  At its 
north-east corner access was given from the dormitory to the 
necessarium, a portentous edifice in the form of a Norman 
hall, 145 ft. long by 25 broad, containing fifty-five seats.  It 
was, in common with all such offices in ancient monasteries, 
constructed with the most careful regard to cleanliness and 
health, a stream of water running through it from end to 
end.  A second smaller dormitory runs from east to west for 
the accommodation of the conventual officers, who were bound 
to sleep in the dormitory.  Close to the refectory, but outside 
the cloisters, are the domestic offices connected with it: 
to the north, the kitchen, 47 ft. square, surmounted by a 
lofty pyramidal roof, and the kitchen court; to the west, the 
butteries, pantries, &c. The infirmary had a small kitchen of its 
own.  Opposite the refectory door in the cloister are two 
lavatories, an invariable adjunct to a monastic dining-hall, 
at which the monks washed before and after taking food. 

The buildings devoted to hospitality were divided into three 
groups.  The prior's group ``entered at the south-east angle 
of the green court, placed near the most sacred part of the 
cathedral, as befitting the distinguished ecclesiastics or 
nobility who were assigned to him.'' The cellarer's buildings 
were near the west end of the nave, in which ordinary visitors 
of the middle class were hospitably entertained.  The inferior 
pilgrims and paupers were relegated to the north hall or almonry, 
just within the gate, as far as possible from the other two. 

Westminster Abbey. 

Westminster Abbey is another example of a great Benedictine 
abbey, identical in its general arrangements, so far as they 
can be traced, with those described above.  The cloister and 
, monastic buildings lie to the south side of the church.  
Parallel to the nave, on the south side of the cloister, 
was the refectory, with its lavatory at the door.  On the 
eastern side we find the remains of the dormitory, raised 
on a vaulted substructure and communicating with the south 
transept.  The chapter-house opens out of the same alley of the 
cloister.  The small cloister lles to the south-east of 
the larger cloister, and still farther to the east we have 
the remains of the infirmary with the table hall, the 
refectory of those who were able to leave their chambers.  The 
abbot's house formed a small courtyard at the west entrance, 
close to the inner gateway.  Considerable portions of this 
remain, including the abbot's parlour. celebrated as ``the 
Jerusalem Chamber,'' his hall, now used for the Westminster 
King's Scholars, and the kitchen and butteries beyond. 


St Mary's Abbey, York, of which the ground-plan is annexed, 
exhibits the usual Benedictine arrangements.  The precincts 
are surrounded by a strong fortified wall on three sides, 
the river Ouse being sufficient protection on the fourth 
side.  The entrance was by a strong gateway (U) to the 
north.  Close to the entrance was a chapel, where is now 
the church of St Olaf (W), in which the new-comers paid 
their devotions immediately on their arrival.  Near the 
gate to the south was the guest-hall or hospitium (T). 
The buildings are completely ruined, but enough remains to 
enable us to identify the grand cruciform church (A), the 
cloister-court with the chapterhouse (B), the refectory (I), 
the kitchen-court with its offices (K, O, O) and the other 
principal apartments.  The infirmary has perished completely. 

Some Benedictine houses display exceptional arrangements, 
dependent upon local circumstances, e.g. the dormitory of 
Worcester runs from east to west, from the west walk of the 
cloister, and that of Durham is built over the west, instead of 

                             FIG. 4

 St Mary's Abbey, York (Benedictine).--Churton's Monnastic Ruins.
 A. Church.                        O. Offices.
 B. Chapter-house.                 P. Cellars.
 C. Vestibule to ditto.            Q. Uncertain. 
 E. Library or scriptorium.        R. Passage to abbot's house.
 F. Calefactory.                   S. Passage to common house.
 G. Necessary.                     T. Hospitium.
 H. Parlour.                       U. Great gate.
 I. Refectory.                     V. Porter's lodge.
 K. Great kitchen and court.       W. Church of St Olaf.
 L. Cellarer's office.             X. Tower.
 M. Cellars.                       Y. Entrance from Bootham.
 N. Passage to cloister.

as usual, over the east walk; but, as a general rule, the arrangements 
deduced from the examples described may be regarded as invariable. 

The history of monasticism is one of alternate periods of 
decay and revival.  With growth in popular esteem came increase 
in material wealth, leading to luxury and worldliness.  The 
first religious ardour cooled, the strictness of the rule was 
relaxed, until by the 10th century the decay of discipline 
was so complete in France that the monks are said to have 
been frequently unacquainted with the rule of St Benedict, 
and even ignorant that they were bound by any rule at 
all.  The reformation of abuses generally took the form of 
the establishment of new monastic orders, with new and more 
stringent rules, requiring a modification of the architectural 
arrangements.  One of the earliest of these reformed orders 
was the Cluniac. This order took its name from,the little 
village of Cluny, 12 miles N.W. of Macon, near which, about 
A.D. 909, a reformed Benedictine abbey was founded by William, 
duke of Aquitaine and count of Auvergne, under Berno, abbot of 
Beaume.  He was succeeded by Odo, who is often regarded as 
the founder of the order.  The fame of Cluny spread far and 
wide.  Its rigid rule was adopted by a vast number of the 
old Benedictine abbeys, who placed themselves in affiliation 
to the mother society, while new foundations sprang up in 
large numbers, all owing allegiance to the ``archabbot,'' 
established at Cluny.  By the end of the 12th century the 
number of monasteries affiliated to Cluny in the various 
countries of western Europe amounted to 2000.  The monastic 
establishment of Cluny was one of the most extensive 
and magnificent in France.  We may form some idea of its 
enormous dimensions from the fact recorded, that when, A.D. 
1245, Pope Innocent IV., accompanied by twelve cardinals, 

         FIG. 5--Abbey of Cluny, from 

 A. Gateway.        F. Tomb of St Hugh.  M. Bakehouse.
 B. Narthex.        G. Nave.             N. Abbey buildings.
 C. Choir.          H. Cloister.         O. Garden.
 D. High-altar.     K. Abbot's house.    P. Refectory.
 E. Retro-altar.    L. Guest-house.

a patriarch, three archbishops, the two generals of the 
Carthusians and Cistercians, the king (St Louis), and three 
of his sons, the queen mother, Baldwin, count of Flanders 
and emperor of Constantinople, the duke of Burgundy, and 
six lords, visited the abbey, the whole party, with their 
attendants, were lodged withn the monastery without disarranging 
the monks, 400 in number.  Nearly the whole of the abbey 
buildings, including the magnificent church, were swept away 
at the close of the 18th century.  When the annexed ground-plan 
was taken, shortly before its destruction, nearly all the 
monastery, with the exception of the church, had been rebuilt. 

The church, the ground-plan of which bears a remarkable 
resemblance to that of Lincoln Cathedral, was of vast 
dimensions.  It was 656 ft. high.  The nave (G) had double 
vaulted aisles on either side.  Like Lincoln, it had an 
eastern as well as a western transept, each furnished with 
apsidal chapels to the east.  The western transept was 213 
ft. long, and the eastern 123 ft.  The choir terminated in 
a semicircular apse (F), surrounded by five chapels, also 
semicircular.  The western entrance was approached by an 
ante-church, or narthex (B), itself an aisled church of 
no mean dimensions, flanked by two towers, rising from a 
stately flight of steps bearing a large stone cross.  To the 
south of the church lay the cloister-court (H), of immense 
size, placed much farther to the west than is usually the 
case.  On the south side of the cloister stood the refectory 
(P), an immense building, 100 ft. long and 60 ft. wide, 
accommodating six longitudinal and three transverse rows of 
tables.  It was adorned with the portraits of the chief 
benefactors of the abbey, and with Scriptural subjects.  The 
end wall displayed the Last Judgment.  We are unhappily unable 
to identify any other of the principal buildings (N). The 
abbot's residence (K), still partly standing, adjoined the 
entrance-gate.  The guest-house (L) was close by.  The bakehouse 
(M), also remaining, is a detached building of immense size. 

English Cluniac 

The first English house of the Cluniac order was that of 
Lewes, founded by the earl of Warren, c. A.D. 1077.  Of 
this only a few fragments of the domestic buildings exist.  
The best preserved Cluniac houses in England are Castle Acre, 
Norfolk, and Wenlock, Shropshire.  Ground-plans of both are 
given in Britton's Architectural Antiquities. They show 
several departures from the Benedictine arrangement.  In 
each the prior's house is remarkably perfect.  All Cluniac 
houses in England were French colonies, governed by priors 
of that nation.  They did not secure their independence nor 
become ``abbeys'' till the reign of Henry VI. The Cluniac 
revival, with all its brilliancy, was but short-lived.  
The celebrity of this, as of other orders, worked its moral 
ruin.  With their growth in wealth and dignity the Cluniac 
foundations became as worldly in life and as relaxed in 
discipline as their predecessors, and a fresh reform was needed. 


The next great monastic revival, the Cistercian, arising in 
the last years of the 11th century, had a wider diffusion, 
and a longer and more honourable existence.  Owing its real 
origin, as a distinct foundation of reformed Benedictines, in 
the year 1098, to Stephen Harding (a native of Dorsetshire, 
educated in the monastery of Sherborne), and deriving its 
name from Citeaux (Cistercium), a desolate and almost 
inaccessible forest solitude, on the borders of Champagne and 
Burgundy, the rapid growth and wide celebrity of the order 
are undoubtedly to be attributed to the enthusiastic piety 
of St Bernard, abbot of the first of the monastic colonies, 
subsequently sent forth in such quick succession by the 
first Cistercian houses, the far-famed abbey of Clairvaux 
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