Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Chapter House

A chamber used for administrative gatherings of a monastery of cathedral. Monastic settlements were ruled by a 'chapter', or administrative body of priors/abbots and monks, hence the name. A similar hierarchy of officials helped run the day to day operations of cathedrals, which often had a monastic foundation. Chapter Houses are often located in a separate building adjoining the abbey church or cathedral, often linked to a cloister walk.

The most common British design for chapter houses is a polygon, with a pointed external roof supported on a central column. The interior walls are lined with individual seats for chapter members, often outlined by arcading or piers, with canopies over each seat. Some of the best surviving examples of medieval chapter houses can be seen at Westminster Abbey, Wells Cathedral (editor's favourite!), Lincoln Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, York Minster, and Southwell Minster. The more striking of these structures have huge stained glass windows creating an extraordinarily light and spacious interior.

Related: Body   Cloister  

Attraction search
in



National Trust

National Trust membership

National Trust membership

Free entry to National Trust properties throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus discounted admission to National Trust for Scotand properties.

Membership details

About the National Trust


HISTORY CORNER

Name the Historic attraction

Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



British History Quiz

Known as the mistress of Edward III



 Clue

This Day in British History

22 October, 1877

Blantyre mining disaster

The worst mining accident in Scottish history hit the Blantyre Colliery, killing 207 miners. The company evicted the surviving families from their cottages 6 months later.

Monarch Mayhem

This monarch died at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, in early 1400, probably of starvation



 Clue

Passionate about British Heritage!