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    One of the things I learned while watching the BBC archaeology program “Time Team” was that abbeys and monasteries in Great Britain generally followed a standard plan. If you knew where one part of a monastery was, you could figure out roughly where the other parts would be. When I looked on the internet for such plans, my first discovery was the website which I highly recommend as a resource for all things medieval. (Click the image below for a key to the map.)

    While this general plan was useful in locating and identifying the parts of an abbey, there was no scale attached which made drawing a floor plan based on it difficult. Further research led me to this ground plan of the Roche Abbey, near Sheffield in Yorkshire (England) which seems similar (although it includes some outbuildings that weren’t in the generic map) and gave me a scale to work from. (Click the map for the full size image.)

    Roche Abbey

    Below is my interpretation of the first map. You will notice I’ve added a few things:

    • Stained glass windows on the north wall of the nave. (Should I add some more?)

    • Pews in the nave(2) and the choir(3) of the church.

    • Doors in most of the doorways.

    I also moved the “Lay Monks dormitory” closer to the West Range to make the map more compact. Otherwise I have left things unchanged since I didn’t know what furnishings to use. This is just a starting point for me so any suggestions would be appreciated.

      Abbey Layout.PNG
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2018
    Looks fantastic !
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2018
    Good looking map there, Dalton :)
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2018 edited
    Technically, that would be a Channel 4 TV programme, not a BBC one, and while the later medieval monasteries across much of Europe had similar features (by the 10th-11th centuries in Britain, for instance), varied by geography and sometimes religious order, there is really only a general plan of the large east-west aligned church building standing to the north of an open area, around which space were arranged various buildings. Everything else might be changed to some degree, even the interior layout of the church sometimes (other than the high altar at the east end).

    Early medieval monasteries could be very different in layout and nature to all this though (Anglo-Saxon period in Britain) - this page for the Lindisfarne monastery (founded 635 CE) has some basic notes on the differences and similarities.

    Pews within the central parts of the church are later still, and weren't at all common until the 15th century, though some early stone benches set against the nave walls are known from British churches by the 13th century.

    Great looking CC3+ drawing, regardless!
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2018
    That place looks familiar. I've been somewhere with an very similar floor plan.
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeDec 21st 2018
    I liked Time Team. Miss the show. The map reminds me of one of the places they went.

    This is the second edition of my map. Like the first I used the castle design commands described in the October 2010 Cartographer’s Annual “Castle Walls” (Vol 4, Issue 46} to build the walls, doorways and window alcoves (although I used the DOR2 command this time to add square columns to many of the doorways). I also added a new key [23] for the Parlor (which the room between the Chapter House [15] and the Choir Monks' Dorter [11]) as well as outside doors to the Parlor and the Sacristy [13] (as per Roche Abbey) and windows to the upper and lower landings of the Night Stairs [19] to the Lay Monks' dormitory. One of the problems with using “ground plans” for the abbey layout is that while they show where the walls were they do not show where the windows were. The stained glass windows were a guess on my part as were the ones in the Night Stairs [19] but I would like to add more if they made sense. (This should be easy enough: just explode the wall section, use the WIN1 command as appropriate and then LTP and CLOSEPATH the resulting wall sections making sure they are on the right sheet and layer.) I would also like to add some furnishings, but I'm not sure what would be appropriate.

      Generic Abbey.PNG
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeDec 27th 2018
    My goodness! Those are detailed walls.

    Very nice :)
    The castle design commands were very helpful in that regard, so I've copied all the relevant toolbar items from the dungeon.mnu file to other .mnu files where I am likely to use them. Does anyone know if there is a forum article describing their use? (CA 46 describes them wonderfully but not everyone has that issue.)
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeDec 28th 2018
    I think those commands might be limited to people who have that annual. I might be totally wrong (and I am wrong about things about 50% of the time), but commands and such like which come as an annual issue are usually installed by installing the annual and are not automatically built into CC3 as commands just waiting to be discovered.
    Actually they are included with Dungeon Designer 3 which is one of the core add-ons that I assume most people have. Oddly for such a useful feature the only significant documentation of these commands I have found was in the CA 46 Mapping Guide although references to that annual appeared in the most recent Tome of Ultimate Mapping.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2018
    How interesting:)

    I never even heard of them before you mentioned them - but there are just so many different things you can do with CC3+ and its add-ons that its hardly surprising I've never used even half of them in just the 2-3 years I've been mapping ;)

    To be honest my original map was largely a tracing of the generic plan from (see the first image in this thread) with appropriate effects thrown in. If you want to see a good tutorial on CA 46 tools you should check out the Hanin's chapel: A Tutorial : COMPLETED thread by Joachim de Ravenbel as well as his bilingual tutorial page on the topic. I'm currently working on a rotated version of the church and abbey with slightly altered dimensions so I can use a tiled floor fill aligned to the grid as per Part 6 of the above tutorial. I will also be working on a multilevel version that will show more details of the monks' dorters, guest quarters and other rooms not specifically labeled in the generic plan. I do have a couple of questions:

    1. Should the monks have cells? I know that early monasteries didn't have them, but later ones did.

    2. Should the church have a bell tower? If so, where should it be placed?
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2019
    1) Monk's cells. Well, the concepts of solitude and somewhere to live thus, sometimes called a cell, derives from the earliest eremitic monastic traditions (hermits), which predates this type of organised Cenobitic monastery by several centuries. In this case though, I'd say it was up to you whether you wanted cells for individual monks, or perhaps two or three monks together, or none at all!

    2) A church of this size and form would usually have a tower above where the transept meets the nave-quire/choir, and that could often contain bells in the medieval European traditions. An alternative, but suitable for smaller churches than this, would be a bell tower at the west end (furthest from the high altar end).