Religion: Tickford Priory

Manual Labour

The manual labour included farming, gardening, brewing, carpentry, herbalism, cooking, cleaning and brewing etc. Most of this was done either by the Lay Brothers were men from poor background who were usually illiterate and did much of the manual labour needed on the farms or 'granges' of the priory, or by Lay Servants who were paid labour and not part of the monastic community. Monasteries tried to be self-sufficient, i.e. they raised and prepared all their own food and drink.

On the Farm

Tickford Priory included various farm and other buildings including stables, barns, the malt house (where malt for beer was prepared) and a kiln house where bricks or pottery could be made. Grain was ground at the watermill. The flour was then sifted in the bulting room and baked into loaves in the ovens of the bakehouse. With no fridges, freezers or tin cans, one of the biggest problems was storing food for the winter months. The priory plan shows an eeling room would be used for drying eels caught in willow eel baskets placed in the mill race of watermills. As well as eating animals such as sheep and pig, many species of wild animal were eaten, such as: deer, hare, and partridge. A dovecote provided pigeons and a carp pond provided fish for the community. Beehives were commonly kept to provide honey.
Strangely, baby rabbits were not counted as meat, so pregnant females were caught in nets. When the babies were born they were eaten and the adults released.

More on this...

Pictures of dovecote and monks catching rabbits, by D. Mynard courtesy of MK Parks Trust