life of most monasteries was based on prayer which was the pivot
around which the routine of the monks revolved:-
2.00 AM -
'Night-Watch Office' when the
monks would be wakened and troop down
the night stair to sing the first service of the day. After this they
would sit in the choir and pray until
AM - LAUDS
when Lauds would be sung. The word means 'praises
afterwards the rule says 'then they
shall retire to bed
'. When the
day is breaking, the small bell shall be rung softly, and the monks
return to church for Prime.
AM - PRIME
a service with the morning mass and psalms for the dead.
After which they go to the cloister to read or write before having
their first meal of the day.
AM - TERCE
This is the office of the third hour which is followed by a
sung mass. Then would follow the Chapter Meeting to discuss business
matters, and work of some kind would be undertaken until noon.
NOON - NONES
The the church office was built around the High Mass - the most
service of the day. The main meal followed about 2.00 pm, after which
monks would continue with work or study until Vespers.
4.30 PM - VESPERS
evening service, as Vesper means 'evening
'. This was followed
by a light supper of bread and fruit.
PM - COMPLINE
A service at dusk to complete the hours.
was the general rule in Benedictine monasteries, but the monks were
allowed to meet at set times for conversation in a special room
called 'The Parlour
' from the
French word 'parIer
' - to
they were only allowed to talk about the work they were undertaking.