"monks had worked at desks with sloping tops in the scriptoria of their monasteries"

scribe at work
Public Domainscribe at work
Meggie is correct to believe that monks had worked at desks with sloping tops, but her disbelief of Elinor doesn't quite go far enough. In fact, the belief that monks usually worked in dedicated "scriptoria" (writing rooms) is also a myth. Unless monks were specifically trying to set up a library, in which case a dedicated writing room mi ght be made next to the library whilst manuscripts are copied, monks usually wrote in their rooms or in an area of the monastery's cloister set aside for them.