Dormitory It was the primitive custom for all the monks of a monastery to sleep in one large dormitory. Not until the 14th century was the custom introduced of using separate sleeping-cells. By the rule of Benedict all were to sleep in one room, if possible, with the abbot in their midst, or in larger monasteries ten or twenty, together with a dean. Only the aged, the infirm, and the excommunicated were excepted from this arrangement. Each monk was to have a separate bed. They were to sleep clothed and girded. The room was kept under lock and key until morning. In the first fervor of monastic zeal it was a common practice to sleep on the bare ground — afterwards on mats. A fire was kept burning in the room all night. The sleeping-room for stranger monks was usually close to the great dormitory and the chapel. See Smith, Vic. of Christ. Anti. s.v.