How the other half lived
Valle Crucis wasn’t simply a place of prayer. For three turbulent centuries it was a working community whose livelihood depended on a series of outlying farms known as granges.
Life there was very different depending on whether you were a choir monk or a lay brother. A monk spent his life in prayer and study, attending eight separate services every day in the abbey church. When he wasn’t praying, he was copying manuscripts.
The lay brothers rose at dawn and, unless it was a Sunday or a feast day, went out to graft in the fields. They ate in their own refectory and slept in their own dormitory. They even worshipped in a different part of the church, separated from the choir monks by a screen.