Next to the granary was the bakery where the loaves listed previously would be baked for the respective meals by servants under the watchful eye of the garnerer. Flour was typically purchased by the cellarer or garnerer from the various mills owned by the priory. The expenses of an individual garnerer varied quite drastically; in 1217, as little as £4 15s. 6d. was spent, whilst in 1220, over £290 was credited to them. It is noteworthy that the proportion of this expense which was earmarked for purchasing wheat was very small. In 1216, of the £34 4s. spent by garnerer Luke, 58s. 8d. Ob was used to purchase wheat from Pecham. The rest, most probably, was used to maintain the granary and pay the servants. Unlike the cellarer, the structure of the garnerer role was as flexible as their expenses. Whilst in 1213, only one garnerer was listed as William, by 1215, as many as four garnerers; Luke, Alexander, Herlewin, and Andrew are provided, and in 1216, another garnerer, Richard, was added. Then, in 1217, only two are listed, Hubert and Richard. The reasoning behind such a chaotic structure was uncertain, but perhaps the granary was afforded more flexibility and freedom with its employment as it was a very small threat to the grand scheme of financial unity and aided in limiting the influence of the cellarer.
Alongside the cellarer, another prominent obedientiary who was key to the daily life of the community was the chamberlain, or camerarius. Unlike the aforementioned obedientiaries, this office was shown in the accounts to only contain one official with an assistant. There was an instance in 1213, however, of two chamberlains being listed within the accounts. This was potentially a temporary measure to ensure a quick recovery after the exile, or an overlap of obedientiaries when the returning monks had re-joined those who remained. Be as it may, it is clear that the expenses of the chamberlain follow a similar pattern to the cellarers but at a much lower amount. Whilst the chamberlain also witnesses a decrease in expenditure as a result of the First Barons’ War, the Translation does not appear to make overly much difference to how much was spent. This was most probably because the role of the chamberlain focused predominantly on the monks, and thus he did not have to accommodate the vast numbers of pilgrims in the same way that the cellarer did.
Although the expenditure of the chamberlain was much lower than the cellarer, the chamberlain, along with a sub-chamberlain, was equally as integral to the priory. They oversaw the clothing, accommodation, laundry work, washing, and shaving of the monks and servants. The chamberlain was primarily based within the tailor’s workshop within the precinct and purchased a variety of goods to make into garments. According to the Rule, precise rules and regulations governed the size, shape, and design of the black habit, and as such, black cloth was typically the leading expense in the chamberlain’s account. Maintaining a large cohort of monks with garments, soaps, and other amenities would have been a grand undertaking. As such, it was common for the chamberlain, like the cellarer, to also venture to fairs and markets to purchase cloth, linen, pelts, and leather, as well as sewing materials and bathroom necessities. Whilst he was not strictly afforded the same special privileges as the cellarer, the chamberlain was sometimes excused from prayers and ceremonies to fulfil his role if needed. What was particularly notable, however, was that a proportion of money, only 50s., was attributed within the accounts of 1213 and 1224 to the chamberlain for a “domum in Hoilande”. R.A.L Smith writes that from the fourteenth century, monks purchased “the best Flemish cloths for their garments”, and in 1318, the Canterbury foreign agent purchased over 200 Frisian cloths. It was, therefore, possible to propose that this particular expense could have been an early formation and establishment of the economic cloth trade between Canterbury and the Low Countries in the following century.
Aside from cloth, a common expense of the chamberlain was soap, which was to be used for compulsory baths at Christmas and optional baths throughout the rest of the year. For smaller occasions, the chamberlain was tasked with providing hot water, towels, and soap among other cleaning amenities. And whilst there was no definitive site of a laundry-room at Canterbury, lists of washer-women illustrate that there was a structure in place for habits, shirts, drawers, and socks to be cleaned every fortnight in summer, and every three weeks during winter. This, as well as upholding a system of tallies to ensure items were returned to the right monk, was maintained solely by the chamberlain and his assistant.
The remaining obedientiaries tasked with the domestic affairs of the priory were the refectorarian, infirmarian, and master of novices. Whilst these officers are not mentioned within the treasury accounts, it was worth discussing them briefly to understand their role and contribution to the wider cathedral community. The first of which, the refectorarian, worked closely with the cellarer to supply the refectory with utensils and necessary tools. The infirmarian was primarily in charge of the infirmary, which was not just an accommodation for the sick, but also those who were too infirm for daily duties as well as monks who were bloodletting. The infirmarian, however, oversaw the whole wing to the east of the cloister and therefore the hall, chapel, dining-hall, and kitchen were within their control. Nevertheless, within the infirmary was a resident physician and bleeder who relied on local oculists and apothecaries for herbs, cordials, lozenges, and ointments for the sick. The prior, however, reserved the right to see a specialist or consultant in London for a hefty price. Finally, the master of novices was instrumental in teaching the Rule and divine office to novices and monks. He may well have worked closely with the precentor or succentor, who will be discussed in the following article, as a subordinate for educational work. His role, as with the refectorarian and infirmarian, required few expenses and thus his appearance within records at Christ Church is uncommon. Nevertheless, he taught the young monks about monastic life, daily routine, and discipline without succumbing to impulse. Even recreation was a key part of a monk’s life, and the master of novices was key in promoting both indoor and outdoor activities which all participated in.
And so, the above concludes the domestic affairs, also known as the bodily life of the community. But this was only half of the offices that monastic communities, like Canterbury, contained. In part 2 of this examination of the 13th-century divine enterprise, we shall examine the intellectual and spiritual affairs of the community through the offices of the precentor, succentor, and sacrist.