Last edited 24 Jan 2022



In the ruins of Buildwas Abbey in Shropshire, England, this aumbry was used for book storage in the sacristy.

Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary (second edition) was published by Yale University Press in 2018. It defines an aumbry as: ‘A recess or cupboard in a church or chapel to hold sacred vessels for the Mass’.

An aumbry is also referred to as an almery. In Roman Catholic churches, the recess is commonly called an ambry. An ambry is sometimes located near the altar of a church or in the baptistry.

In some circumstances (such as those where lavatoria were in use) clean towels for monks were also kept in aumbries. These aumbries were typically located near the refectory or dining area.

During medieval times, the term aumbry was not strictly associated with religious items. It was instead used to describe closed cupboards or even open bookcases.

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