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Kirkstall Abbey: location

Kirkstall Abbey: history
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Foundation
Consolidation
Rise and Fall
Dissolution

Kirkstall Abbey: buildings
Precinct
Church
Cloister
Sacristy
Library
Chapter House
Parlour
Day Room
Dormitory
Reredorters
Warming House
Refectory
Kitchen
Lay Brothers' Range
Abbots'Lodging
Infirmary
Guesthouse
Gatehouse

Kirkstall Abbey: Lands

Kirkstall Abbey: people

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View Movies Kirkstall Abbey: the guesthouse

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Who was the guestmaster and what did he do?

Kirkstall, like other Cistercian abbeys, would have had several guesthouses within the precinct where visitors could be received appropriately, without disturbing the community. Most guests who visited Kirkstall were shown to a hospice which probably lay to the north of the galilee porch, east of the inner gatehouse. The exact location of this hospice is not known.(1) Visitors were tended here by the guestmaster (or hosteller, as he was known) and, at least in the early days, ate with the abbot.

Cistercian abbots at first dined in the guesthouse with all visitors, but there is evidence that by the late twelfth century some dined with more distinguished guests in private chambers while the other visitors dined in the guesthall.

More distinguished guests, such as members of the De Lacy family, the patrons of Kirkstall, stayed in a guesthouse to the west of the inner court, which faced the abbey church. The site of this guesthouse has been extensively excavated and much is now known of the layout and phasing of the buildings here, which date from the early thirteenth century, but probably replaced an earlier timber structure.

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