refectory, opposite and parallel to the church, e.g. Boxley (Cistercian),
Egglestone (Praemonstratensian), Lilleshall (Augustinian) and Monk Bretton
A through passage or ‘dark entry’ occurred at the east
end of the south range, giving access from the cloister to the area south
of the refectory range. At its north end the moulded jamb of the west side
of its entrance survived and was of Decorated character (Plate IB and Fig.
4, no. 12). The opening at the south end had a cill rebated for a
4 ft. wide and opening inwards, and adjoining was the chamfered north jamb
of a doorway giving access to the area beneath the refectory, this being
separated from the passage by a thin wall.
Disturbance in this locality had confused stratification and rendered
interpretation difficult. On the east were indications of a wide fireplace
with evidence of repair and renewal extending into the post-Dissolution
period (Plate IIIA). Scattered pottery from this area ranged in date from
the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. A doorway in the north-east
corner apparently communicated with the room under the refectory, and at
the north end was the lower part of a stone stair, turning to the right,
and no doubt originally leading up to the refectory.
On removing part of the clay hearth, the lower part of a
pottery vessel was found, standing upright without discernible contents, and
with the rim above the shoulder missing. What remained was of hard buff ware
suggesting a late-medieval or post-Dissolution date, and one is reminded of
the custom of burying Bellarmine jugs and other vessels in hearths,
containing charms against witches, though whether this is the explanation in
this instance is far from certain.
The West Range
In order to trace the west side of this range, which was overlain by
ruins of modern stone and brick farm buildings, a wide trench was cut by
means of a mechanical excavator and the remains revealed defined by hand
digging (Plate IIB). This showed the lower part of a wall with outer
buttresses coinciding with internal responds. In the north-east corner,
adjoining the church, there was a corbel, and another occurred in the
south-east angle (Plate V), the top of the latter being only 2 ft. 2 in.
above floor level, and clearly indicating that the lower storey of the range
had been vaulted. In debris covering the south end, part of a plain
chamfered vaulting rib was found to confirm this conclusion. Most probably
the vault of this undercroft was supported by a central