In the 14th century, as the head of the second wealthiest abbey in Britain (behind Westminster Abbey), the Abbot of Glastonbury lived in considerable splendour and wielded tremendous power. The main surviving example of this power and wealth is to be found in the Abbot’s Kitchen – part of the magnificent Abbot’s house begun by John de Breynton (1334-42).
To the south-west of the cloister, a separate complex of rooms provided grand accommodation for the abbot and his guests. Today, the standing buildings consist of the kitchen and one corner of the giant hall, begun after 1322 and completed by 1342. They formed parts of a palatial residence of three ranges, arranged around a central walled garden.
Glastonbury Abbey Archaeology (includes digital reconstruction)
The Abbot’s Kitchen is a mediaeval octagonal building that served as the kitchen at Glastonbury Abbey in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. It is a Grade I listed building. The abbot’s kitchen has been described as “one of the best preserved medieval kitchens in Europe”. The stone-built construction dates from the 14th century and is one of a very few surviving mediaeval kitchens in the world.
Historically, the Abbot of Glastonbury lived well, as demonstrated by the abbot’s kitchen, with four large fireplaces at its corners. The kitchen was part of the opulent abbot’s house, begun under Abbot John de Breynton (1334–1342). It is one of the best preserved medieval kitchens in Europe and the only substantial monastic building surviving at Glastonbury Abbey. The abbot’s kitchen has been the only building at Glastonbury Abbey to survive intact. Later it was used as a Quaker meeting house.