Some weeks ago I visited Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire. Mt Grace is the best preserved example in England of a Carthusian monastery, where the monks lived as hermits. One of the individual cells has been reconstructed and restored and furnished, to show how the monks would have lived.
The ‘cells’ are more like modern day starter homes. In the restored cell, pictured here with figure, there are three rooms downstairs and one large one above with a weaving loom. All of the monks had some practical work such as weaving, spinning, book binding and the like. Each monk had a garden, a privy and a short length of cloister. Food was given them through a hole in the front wall by lay Brothers who basically took care of them and the administration of the monastery.
The film Into Great Silence, which I mentioned some weeks ago, was made in the large Carthusian monastery in France. Quite an austere life.
In contrast and a million miles away from the simple hermetic life, which I do not hold up as an ideal by the way, take a glimpse at the details of a prize winning shed in Reading Berkshire…inspired by Roman architecture. National Shed Week indeed?!! Only in Britain!
3 thoughts on “Different Sheds for Different Folks”
Sometimes I feel like I’d love to have a life of a hermit…after being around people for a great amount of time, I feel like I’ve lost all my energy and want to withdraw to a small hermit’s cell. Quiet and alone…but then I realize this is no way to show generosity nor gratitude…I was with my partner and his parents in Südtirol for ten days and had very little time alone and felt like I wanted to stay in our hotel room each evening alone…but my heart said that spending time with others was an act of generosity and closing myself up in a “cell” was just the opposite! And by the way it turned out to be so much fun spenging time with them…and Südtirol was absolutely beautful…full of apple orchards, vineyards and roses blooming combining with the aroma of pine and spruce. Wonderful! I hope you are doing well! Jack
I’m glad that Carthusian ‘habit’ is not something worn in our Soto traditon. The idea of one of our monks padding around the Abbey in the gloom in the middle of the night to check on security wearing a hooded white robe would keep this chicken both wide awake and well-hidden under the bedclothes I think …!
The peace and beauty of a hermitage is enormously appealing; but as you suggest, we are drawn to friends and sangha, too. Oh, the balance, the balance. Good to see you here, by the way! :) ~ Mia