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The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

The sacristy/vestry


© Victoria & Albert Museum
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The sacristy was a narrow room that adjoined the south transept of the church and stood some four feet below the level of the cloister. It was entered through a door in the church. Liturgical vessels, vestments and books used in the Mass and Canonical Offices were stored for safekeeping in the sacristy, under the watchful eye of the sacrist. The sacristy was also used by ordained members of the community to robe in vestments for services, and it was thus necessary that this room was close to the church.

After the service the sacrist would rinse the corporals, veils, towels and altar cloths in separate bowls and then pass the altar cloth to the cellarer to be washed with the rest of the linens. He would then wash the others in warm lye-water and dry them; the sacrist then wore albs and smoothed the corporals with a smoothing stone, folded them in three and carefully put them away until next time.(1)

When the church was remodelled in the fourteenth century a new sacristy was built along the wall of the south aisle.

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