Somerset

Glastonbury Abbey's rare medieval kitchen to be conserved

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Media captionWork begins to protect the medieval kitchen at Glastonbury Abbey

Work to conserve one of the world's few surviving medieval kitchens is to take place at Glastonbury Abbey.

The Abbot's Kitchen, in the grounds of the abbey, was built in the 14th Century.

Work will include the removal of "damaging materials" used in earlier repairs and the stabilisation of vulnerable stonework.

The work follows a digital survey of the Abbot's Kitchen earlier this year, the first survey since the 1830s.

It is "one of only a handful of medieval kitchen surviving in the world", according to the abbey.

The kitchen's eight-sided interior includes four huge corner fireplaces, each with a different function: roasting, boiling, baking and washing up.

'Benedictine life'

"The Abbot's Kitchen is evidence of the wealth and influence of Glastonbury Abbey," said assistant curator Mary Gryspeerdt.

"As head of the richest monastery in England after Westminster, the abbot lived and entertained in considerable splendour.

"The kitchen was built at some time between 1320 and 1370 forming part of a lavish suite of rooms for the abbot and his guests.

"Receiving guests, whether poor pilgrims or rich visitors, was an incredibly important part of Benedictine life."

Scaffolding is being erected around the kitchen to enable the work to be carried out. Visitors will be able to watch the conservation team and have guided tours of the kitchen.

The current conservation of the Abbot's Kitchen is part of a wider programme at the abbey, which will include the Lady Chapel, Crypt, Galilee (western porch to the Abbey Church) and the north wall of the precinct.

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