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    digital-daniel likes this.
    • digital-daniel I really enjoyed hearing about the books you read. Your boos are all really great. Thanks - Mr. Daniel - Rome
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    Iguanodon, geology, zoology, dinosaur, sad, victorians!
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    tomajda likes this.
    • leedsmuseums You should now be standing in the cloister which was the heart of any medieval monastery. The cloister was a large open space in the middle of the abbey precinct surrounded on all sides by covered walkways called arcades. If you look carefully you can still see the square holes in the walls of the cloister where supports for the roof of these arcades once stood. These arcades connected all of the important religious and everyday buildings in the abbey; we will be exploring several of these building during this tour. We will be exploring several of these buildings during the tour. Although now the cloister is a quiet haven in the middle of a busy suburb, 800 years ago when the abbey was built the cloister was alive with people and activity. These activities would include reading or copying religious texts, writing, contemplation, prayer and every day mundane tasks such as growing plants for use in cooking and medicines. If you are lucky enough to be visiting on a bright sunny day you will be able to see why the choir monks did most of their reading and writing in the arcade against the outside wall of the church, which is on your left hand side as you come through the cloister gate. This is south facing and gets the most sunshine, important for both heat and light. This was deliberately done, writing with quill pens was a long difficult task and many medieval monks included foot notes or graffiti to the text they were copying about how cold their fingers were or how their eyes hurt working by candle light. Although the cloister would be full of activity this activity was carried out in silence and the only noises would be the sounds of birds and chanting coming from the brothers singing in church. The Cistercians were a silent order, they believed that talking would distract their focus away from God and speaking was restricted to worship in the church, important monastic business in the chapterhouse and the parlour which we shall come to later in the tour. Later Victorians used the cloister for summer parties, lectures and exercise and made several alterations including adding wooden benches for comfort, blocking exits for privacy and turning the library into a grotto with a lead roof and fire place. There is a picture on one of the interpretation boards in the cloister showing a very solemn looking Victorian summer party in the cloister. Today the cloister is again at the centre of activity in the abbey but in a very different way. It is used by large numbers of visitors and school children, community groups and organised tours for a wide range of activities from birds of prey displays, dog shows, spinning demonstrations and welly wanging. But is also still a place of peace and contemplation, school groups use the tranquillity in specially designed workshops to relax before their exams, other visitors read a book or just enjoy the peace, interrupted by the odd aeroplane or chirping from our resident kestrel. Start walking on the path around the outside of the cloister on the right hand side where the big tree is, to get to the next point of the tour, the Kitchen.