At the Tables of the Monks: The Guest-Hall Cook

View from the Guesthouse (Photo credit: Christ Phillips)
View from the Guesthouse (Photo credit: Chris Phillips)


[Note: The Abbey paid the gust-hall cook  for his services, since this person did not belong to the cloistered community.]

The cook to attend to the needs of visitors was appointed by the cellarer, and had under him a boy to help in any way he might direct. His office was frequently for life, and certainly, once appointed, he could be removed only with difficulty. He had to get everything ready for the entertainment of strangers and of the parents of the religious, whenever they came to the monastery and at whatsoever hour of the day or night. Besides this ordinary work he had to assist, when disengaged, in preparing the meals for the monks, and in the season for salting, the pork and mutton, to help in that work with the chief cook and the larderer. He was to be in all things obedient to the kitchener in the matters of this office, and in the times of his service was not to absent himself except with the permission of that official. His wages were paid by the cellarer according to agreement ; and he had the usual kitchen perquisites of choppings and dripping.

[Note: All information quoted from F. A. Gasquet’s English Monastic Life (1905, public domain, and transcribed by Richenda Fairhurst, July 2007).]