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In a large Benedictine abbey, and to some extent an Augustinian, the abbot was frankly a great lord with a large house. The head of a Cluniac monastery was a prior and subject to the Abbot of Cluny, but he sometimes had a grand house all the same, as at Wenlock. One of the most complete of the great abbots' houses was at Gloucester. From the Dissolution to 1862 it was used as the Bishop's palace, but has now been rebuilt. It was an elaborate structure, not differing greatly from the house of a secular nobleman.

At St Augustine's, Canterbury, the following were in force for light faults: separation from the common table, meals to be three hours late, a lower place in chapter and quire, prohibition of celebrating mass and reading in public, reception at Holy Communion forbidden. For graver faults there might be ordered: perpetual silence in quire and elsewhere, bread and water only on two days of the week, the last place in the community, or, most disgraceful of all, prostration at the door of the church so that every monk going into quire had to step over the culprit's body.

It was often copied in secular churches, but used less frequently. York, Lincoln, Wells, Salisbury, Southwell have beautiful chapter houses, but were not monastic. 13 Wat Home of tfje The chief use of the chapter house was for the meeting of the whole convent, usually held early in the morning. In 1334, Benedict XII laid it down that there was to be a daily meeting wherever six monks were congregated. At this meeting the brethren sat in order of seniority, the youngest at the west end. The Rule was read through, in a Benedictine house, three times in a year, and in a Cistercian house once.

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