A rather forgotten period in Bath‘s illustrious past is getting a shop-front showing in a new business that has just opened in the city.
Ora et Labora – which means pray and work – not only offers an opportunity to discover Bath’s monastic heritage but showcases and sells the very best of today’s artisan goods produced in monasteries in England and beyond.
Ora et Labora was a motto adopted by the Benedictine Order who were based in the city at a long-established monastery finally dissolved during Henry the Eighth‘s reign.
The shop stands on one corner of Abbey Green – itself once part of the vast monastic complex.
Walk in and the shop will welcome you with Trappist beers, cheeses, ciders, preserves, chocolates and even Florentine leather gifts.
There’s a Bath Medieval Pudding – which follows an authentic recipe from 1430 – and even an organic skin care range.
All the products are supplied by traditional monastic communities and use ancient skills and craftsmanship.
Go down a level inside and you can view the exhibition which provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked in the medieval abbey of Bath.
You can hear the Gregorian chants and follow the daily cycle of prayer and work that inspired a small community to transform their religious house from a provincial priory to a vast Normal Cathedral.
There’s provision for work with schools – something the owner Joanna McNiff – herself an ex-teacher – wants to grow.
She talked to the Virtual Museum about her vision for the future.
Ora et Labora is in Church Street – a stone’s throw from Bath Abbey and close to Abbey Green. Find out more at http://www.ora-et-labora.co.uk