The cloister stood at the centre of the precinct,
where it was sheltered from noise and disruption. It was made up
of a large central area, known as the cloister garth, and surrounded
by arcading fashioned from black Nidderdale marble and white sandstone.
Part of this arcading was reconstructed in the nineteenth century
and indicates just how spectacular the cloister would have looked
in the Middle Ages. The cloister at Fountains covered about thirty-eight
square metres. All the buildings necessary for monastic life could
be accessed from the cloister, but entry was restricted. The monks
observed silence here, which meant that the cloister was well suited
to meditation and prayer.