Refectory - Encyclopedia

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REFECTORY (med. Lat. refectorium, from reficere, to refresh), the hall of a monastery, convent, &c., where the religious took their chief meals together. There frequently was a sort of ambo, approached by steps, from which to read the legends sanctorum, &c., during meals. The refectory was generally situated. by the side of the S. cloister, so as to be removed from the church but contiguous to the kitchen; sometimes it was divided down the centre into two aisles, as at Fountains Abbey in England, Mont St Michel in France and at Villiers in Belgium, and into three aisles as in St Mary's, York, and the Bernardines, Paris. The refectory of St Martin-des-Champs in Paris is in two aisles, and is now utilized as the library of the Ecole des Arts et Metiers. Its wall pulpit, with an arcaded staircase in the thickness of the wall, is still in perfect preservation.

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