Station: [16] Privy and Eavesdropper’s Window

F 2: The entrance to the museum is through the elongated brick building. There’s a rare dufoil or twyfoil window in the gable of the old east wing that’s clearly visible from the outside. It’s shaped like a figure of eight, with two circular panes top and bottom, joined in the middle.

Now, please make your way into the building. We’re heading for the upper floor, so feel free to take either the stairs or the lift. During the monastic era, the privy was in an annexe on the outside wall towards the garden. In medieval times, there were strict rules about maintaining silence, even when using the usual offices. Both there, and in the adjoining dormitory, the canons had a duty to observe their strict vow of silence. In order to monitor them, what’s known as an "eavesdropper’s window" was built into the wall in the stairwell, to the right of the entrance.

If you look at the brickwork around the old portal into the museum vestibule, you can see that it was remodelled several times. Originally, it had a tall round arch in the Romanesque style, then a lower arch from the late Romanesque period and finally, it was transformed into the current smaller, Gothic portal with a pointed arch. This repeated reduction in size is attributed to changes in the local climate. From the 12th to the 15th century, the weather in Central Europe grew colder and colder, so people probably wanted to keep the draughty opening to the outside as small as possible.

Foto: © Stiftung Kloster Jerichow