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Burning books

WS scriptorium smYou can see the pointed imprint of the cloister roof on the side of the house, and from its height it is possible to say that the cloisters would have had a first floor, probably the space for the library and scriptorium. The archaeologist was here today giving a tour and mentioned that none of the books from the library have survived; infact, it is documented elsewhere that during the Reformation books from monastic libraries were sometimes used to light the fires to melt the lead (from the roof) and bronze (from the bells). This may sound brutal, but in many ways the Priory has survived because it has been recycled, the nave being converted into a private house within a couple of decades of its Dissolution. This seismic shift, played out in the reuse of materials and space, was described by the archaeologist as the end of the medieval way of seeing the world (with its sense of circular, seasonal time) and the beginning of our capitalistic mindset (with its sense of linear, progressive time). Fascinating, and links a little with the timelapse observations that I did earlier. Thanks Vince for your wonderful tour. So much to think about.

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