Since I have been down in Yorkshire “looking after” Colin, we have had a few drives out into the countryside. Our first jaunt was to Mount Grace Priory, not far from Ripon. Originally it was a Carthusian monastery, one where each monk had his own little house and garden, rather than just a one room cell. One of the houses, situated round a cloister garden, has been restored as it might have appeared in the middle ages, and gave the idea of a monk spending his day in prayer and contemplation as well as working either in the garden, presumably cultivating vegetables for the abbey kitchen, or indoors, perhaps weaving at a loom or doing some wood-turning in the upstairs room. There were no windows overlooking the cloister so each of the monks would have spent their days alone, receiving their daily meals through an angled hatch from beside the door. They were not even able to see the monk who placed their food in the hatches. They did come out of their dwellings occasionally to join in a service in the church, but were mostly in isolation. I think there were about 25 individual houses, already identified with maybe more in an area that hasn’t yet been investigated.
The monastery suffered the same fate as many others under King Henry VIII, who renounced the Catholic faith and set himself up as head of the church of England. Many monasteries and abbeys around Britain were pulled down, on his orders, and have remained ruined, in many cases plundered for their ornamental goods in the first place and later for the stone as building material for new houses nearby. However, part of the old guest house building at Mount Grace was rebuilt as a manor house, and along with the priory, is open to the public.
This is the drawing room.
We spent quite a while wandering round the priory grounds and through the house looking at the exhibition on the history of the priory. It’s quite an interesting place.
Talk again soon.