The warming house (calefactory)
The warming-house lay in the southern range
between the day-room and refectory. This was a large room that
was entered from the cloister, and originally had a three-bay aisle.
It was later vaulted, presumably to make it fireproof.
was so named as a large fire burned here during the day from
1 November until Good Friday, making this one of the
warmest spots in the precinct. The double fireplace by the west
wall dates from the late twelfth century .
Whilst the warming-house
was used by the monks to warm themselves, the heat here meant
that this was an appropriate place for scribes
to prepare ink for their parchment and where shoes could be
greased. Bloodletting, a restorative treatment that each monk received
four times a year, was also carried out here.
In the later
Middle Ages the room above the warming house was used as a store
for important documents, presumably as the
the fires below would have kept the room damp-free.