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Wine And Dine For Medieval Monks

If you are of the view that medival people stayed a difficult life then think again. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by a medieval Irish monk.

According to archaeologists in Kilkenny, Ireland, have found out evidences that prove clergy feasted on , T-bone steaks and imported fine French wines unlike the general view of their devotion to “the simple life".

The archaeological dig is taking place in Rothe House, an early 17th-century Irish merchant"s town residence and garden situated in the centre of Kilkenny city.

But, the excavations have discovered evidences of previous “town house" which belonged to Cistercian monks.

Roisin McQuillan, manager of Rothe House, enlightens us to the fact that the original dwelling was the “city pad" of the Abbot of Duiske Abbey – an important Cistercian monastery located by the river Barrow at Graiguenamanagh, some 30km (20 miles) away.

The dig has confirmed that successive abbots stayed in the city and enjoyed a lavish life while the rest of the monks lived a simple, ascetic existence at the abbey.

According to archaeologist Coilin O Drisceoil, “The garderobe was the medieval equivalent of a luxury jacks" and the significance of the “quite rare discovery" was that “it provides an important insight into how a medieval abbot lived".

Bones discovered showed the abbot would have been regularly feasting on and the best cuts of beef – including T-bone steaks.

French wine – then a symbol of real wealth – was also a regular item in dinner.

The other finds discovered were fragments of pottery wine jugs imported from Bordeaux; and “an intact stool" in which a fruit stone – possibly apricot – is embedded.

But the most surprising discovery was a rusting belt buckle. Although the leather belt has long since rotted way, the buckle is still intact.

O Drisceoil explained that “the abbot"s 'good times" doomed when he was booted out and both his town house and the abbey were confiscated by the state when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in Ireland under legislation introduced in 1537.

Story first published: Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 13:44 [IST]
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