|The Abbott's Kitchen|
Glastonbury's Abbot’s Kitchen is one of the best preserved medieval kitchens in Europe. As already stated it dates from the early 14th century and as you can probably see, is a square structure with an octagonal stone tiled roof rising to a two-stage octagonal lantern louvre which let out the smoke from the cooking fires while drawing in clean, fresh air. The structure has unusual round buttresses on all four sides. How the kitchen connected to the Abbot's residence is uncertain, but excavations suggest via a roofed walkway.
The 80 or so Benedictine monks who lived at the Abbey would have had a pretty spartan lifestyle, spending much of their day either in prayer or singing the praises of their Lord God. Their diet is somewhat hazy, but seems to have consisted primarily of dairy products, fruit & vegetables, fish and on high feast days some small amount of meat. Not so the Abbot.
Over the centuries the various abbots at Glastonbury have been amongst the richest men in England. As such they have looked after themselves particularly well, feasting kings, barons and dignitaries from both Britain and further afield. Did the Abbot stick to a mostly meat-free diet? Not likely! Just have a look around inside the Abbot's Kitchen:
|The Roasting Frame|
With a staff of around 20, The Kitchener would no doubt have had a lot of fun in this kitchen. He would also have enjoyed considerable power and status and been among the best of European chefs.
As well as the areas shown here the Abbot's Kitchen had a bread oven and a patisserie, where pies and delicate pastries were prepared for Abbot's delight. Pretty amazing, eh? And remember this kitchen serviced just one man most of the year. As an outsider an invite to the Abbot of Glastonbury's table must have been much sought after.