Roche Abbey: the day room
It is not entirely clear how the
area beneath the monks’ dormitory was used in Cistercian
abbeys, but it is likely that the rooms here served as a day-room
for the monks, where the brethren could work and perhaps copy manuscripts.
A novice-house may also have been situated here, providing separate
quarters for the novices to
eat, sleep and meditate under the tutelage of the novice-master,
whose duty it was to make them ‘worthy
vessels of God and acceptable to the Order.’(8) The
undercorft at Roche comprised seven bays and was divided into two
the first two bays may have accommodated the novices, the other
five bays were probably used as a day room. There is evidence that
the undercroft here was later divided into separate cells.