The Parlour

Sep 30, 2010, 01:59 PM, Kirkstall, Leeds, United Kingdom
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leedsmuseums - about 7 years ago

The parlour was the room in the abbey where tasks were given out and the only room the monks were allowed free conversion that was not worship, the word parlour comes from the French parlez which means to talk. As with the warming house spending too much time in the parlour was thought to be sinful and could be punished.

There was a special piece of sign language that was used to invite another monk to the parlour to discuss perhaps a piece of scripture or monastic business, the parlour was not meant to be used for idle gossip. This action was to put the palms of the hands together then interlock the fingers, again if you would like to try this please pause the player now.

If you stand back you can see that the doorway to the parlour has been made smaller. This was done in the late fourteenth century, historians think it was done to make the parlour cosier, again a sign that abbey rules had relaxed and breaking the vow of silence by talking in the parlour was less of an issue. Today this alteration makes the parlour an excellent stone store as it is easy to access and to block out the weather, if you look through the gate you can see lots of interesting pieces of stone from the abbey which can’t be restored to where they originally came from but we still want to protect.

The room next to the parlour is the Chapter House.