Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Chapel

A small chamber (or sometimes an entirely separate building) for worship. Chapels were often devoted to a specific saint or to a paticular form of worship or activity. Medieval churches often have chapels built into aisles, or at the east end of the church. The largest chapel in common use was the Lady Chapel, usually sitauted at the extreme east end of the church and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

A Chantry Chapel is a special chapel devoted to saying prayers for the dead, especially for the founder of the chapel. In the medieval period it became common for rich people to give money for an elaborately decorated chantry chapels, with funds to pay a priest to say prayers for the patron's soul and those of their family members. These chantries were often finely carved and vaulted, and were a form of status symbol.

Similar terms: Lady Chapel, Chantry Chapel

Related: Lady Chapel   Chantry  

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