Thank you to everyone who entered my short quiz, asking what this intriguing structure was used for:
It is a ‘lavabo’ or bath, which was used by the monks who lived in Much Wenlock Priory.
Built around 1180, this three-tiered stone basin incorporated a siphon system, which supplied water through spouts set into carved heads. Up to 16 monks at a time could wash here before eating in the refectory. The lavabo was not, as it is today, open to the sky and to the view of interested passers-by; instead, it was enclosed in an octagonal building, which thankfully preserved the monks’ modesty.
Much Wenlock Priory is a serenely beautiful place, with soaring arches and dark shadowy cloisters. You can read the full article here.