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Kirkstall Abbey: 10. W range and Lay Brothers' passage, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°49′17″N, 1°36′23″W)
Kirkstall Abbey: 10. W range and Lay Brothers' passage
SE 260 362
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
medieval York
  • Rita Wood
01, 23 April 2010, 11 May 2010, 17 Feb 2017

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=2322.

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This report includes the remains of the W range and a passage adjacent on the E side.

The W range was vaulted in 11 double bays and divided into three main functions: an outer parlour of one bay at the N end; a four-bay cellarium; one bay for access through the range; and five bays at the S end for the lay brothers’ refectory. The lay brothers’ rere-dorter or latrines were in the block attached to the SW end of the range, where is no sculpture; this is now used as the Visitor Centre and entrance to the site.

The passage was defined by the E wall of the range and by a wall that ran N-S at a distance of 25 ft (7 m). This separated the lay brothers’ area from the monks’ cloister, and its scar can be seen in bay 7 on the S aisle wall of the church and on the S wall of the cloister. In the passage, against the W range, were stairs leading to the doorway into the lay brothers’ dormitory, and at the N end of the passage was their doorway into the nave of the church (report Kirkstall Abbey: 01 Church). At the S end of the passage is a large blocked arch in line with the S wall of the cloister; this arch, and the similar one to the S of it, were inserted in the late 12thc after the rearrangment of the S side of the cloister (Hope and Bilson 1907, 53, fig. 48).

Four doorways led from the passage into the W range at ground level. The doorway in bay 1 is blocked and appears to have been plain. A second doorway in bay 4 of two plain orders is now used by visitors to enter the cloister; the window openings are also plain. Sculptural interest is confined to the doorways in bays 6 and 9, and the doorway to the dormitory, and above all to the vault corbels inside the W range.

For History and full Bibliography, see report Kirkstall Abbey 01. Church.


Exterior Features




Interior Features

Vaulting/Roof Supports


Joggled lintels over the fireplaces are stepped at Fountains Abbey in the warming room, as also at Conisbrough Castle. The lobed form is used on the W doorway of Rochester cathedral. (Fieldworker)


W. H. St. John Hope and J. Bilson, Architectural description of Kirkstall Abbey, Thoresby Society, vol. 16, 1907.