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27 26 The pOweR OF The AbbOT and his mighty kitchen In the 10th century, under Abbot Dunstan, the abbey was re established under the Benedictine order and began to receive the official patronage of the crown. By 1086, at the time of the Domesday Book, Glastonbury was the richest monastery in Britain. the monks spent much of their time in prayer, services and, under st Benedicts spartan regime, ate and drank very little. In contrast, the abbot not bound by dietary rules had his own dining hall, separate from the monks, and, nearby, his own splendid Kitchen where great feasts were prepared for him and his guests, such as Henry VII and Henry VIII. With its high octagonal pyramid and tower over a square base, this is one of the few abbey buildings that remain intact today. the wealth and the power of the great abbey and its considerable land holdings in somerset increased until the 16th century by which time it had become a major political force. Left and below The 14th century Abbot s Kitchen. In its interior corners four huge fireplaces heated ovens in the walls and cauldrons full of food. Abbey records show that huge quantities of meat, fish, bread and wine were regularly prepared here. Just the southwest angle of the abbot s great dining hall remains standing today, and the abbot s house, as fine as any bishop s palace, remained intact well into the 18th century when it was demolished. By 1500 Glastonbury was the second wealthiest abbey in Britain, after Westminster, and the abbot lived in great state. Opposite The great Abbey Tithe Barn, on the corner of Chilkwell Street, now site of the Somerset Rural Life Museum.
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