The lay-brothers’ dormitory occupied the
upper level of the western range. Like the monks, the lay-brothers
each had a mat, pillow and a light covering, but instead of a woollen
blanket they had animal skins.(3) The lay-brothers also had their
own latrine-block which probably extended to the west of their
refectory and would have been accessible from the dormitory. This
would have run over the drain allowing waste to be flushed away
by running water. The privies here would have been arranged in
a line, separated by wooden screens, just as they were in the monks’ latrines.
Whilst nothing remains of the lay-brothers’ toilet block
at Rievaulx, visitors to Kirkstall
Abbey, Leeds, will soon be able
to view a reconstruction of part of the medieval sewers and lay-brothers’ privies,
with authentic sights, sounds and smells!
The declining number
of lay-brothers in the fourteenth century led to the destruction
of the southern part of the western range.
The upper level of the remaining building was used as a granary,
the ground floor was divided into separate rooms with fireplaces,
and probably provided more private accommodation for the monks.