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Meat kitchen at Kirkstall Abbey
© Kirkstall Abbey
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Meat kitchen at Kirkstall Abbey

A separate refectory where, from the fifteenth century, monks were permitted to eat meat once or twice a week. The reasons for the restrictions on eating meat were summarised by Bernard of Clarivuax thus:

I abstain from meat because by over-feeding the body I also feed carnal desires; I strive to take even bread with moderation, lest my heavy stomach hinder me in standing up for prayer.
[Bernard of Clairvaux, sermon 66, cited in L. Lekai, The Cistercians: Ideals and Reality (Ohio, 1977), p. 368].

Read more on the Cistercian’s attitude to meat