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As we boarded the coach, everyone was very excited, and even more so as we neared the end of our journey and Mr Barraclough spoke to us all via the coach speakers to introduce the visit. When we arrived, my group went to the impressive motte and bailey Castle first. The scale of this stone miracle blew your socks off. In the inner ward we saw the outline of a large domestic building, which was probably used for meetings, and the outline of a very small chapel. We knew that it was a chapel because it faced east. We explored the castle and we learnt lots of amazing facts. Did you know that square towers have evolved into circular towers, because if you have a circular tower you have no corners? This evolution came about because people tunneled under tower corners and held them with wooden beams, and then set them on fire. The sheer drop of the ramparts (the earthen defences) was terrifying, but it was so fun.
Mr Spindler gave a interesting speech about each of the rooms in the priory, including the toilet: the monks had established a very clever sewage disposal system so the waste went down a chute into a little stream. The Frater was the dining room, as it was one of the rules of the book of St Benedict that the monks ate together. As the monastery got richer, they used servants to cook their food in the kitchen for them; this was against the code of St Benedict as this was not giving up all to poverty. Did you know that the monks were expected to attend 8 church services a day, with the first at 2.30 a.m.? These were in the Nave of the Church. The dormitory was where the monks all slept together to show them as equals. Lastly, in the Chapter House we sat in the seats the monks would have sat in originally, and pretended to discuss the most important issues of the time, e.g. King Henry VIII and the abolition of the monasteries. Our favourite part was seeing the oven, where they made the holy bread. Thank you for such a wonderful trip!
Greta and Emilia, Year 6