The Cloister (c.1150s)
The cloister was the focus for monastic life: the monks spent much of their daily lives here in study, reading and contemplation. The cloister formed a large square enclosure to the south of the nave with walks on each side; a garden was located in the open ground at its centre, the garth.
Although most of the cloister has been demolished, its grand scale is clear from archaeological evidence. The enclosed space measured about 40m across – comparable to the great cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral (39m) and Westminster Abbey (43m).
See the animation below to see how some of the surviving fragments, visible today at Glastonbury Abbey, fit within the cloister structure. To find out how we went about reconstructing the Cloister, see our Reconstructing the Romanesque Cloister page.