The delicate Chapter House, where the day to day business of the Minster was run, was begun in about 1260. It is a superb example of the Gothic Decorated style which was then in vogue.
The entrance to the Chapter House is along a fairly low passage, which gives no hint of what is to come. You pass through a twin arched door, where a wonderfully carved Madonna and child stand, and enter into a circular space ringed with low stalls, above which soar traceried stained glass windows that can rival the famous 5 Sisters for delicacy and lightness.
The windows lead your eye upwards, where far above your head the marvelous ribbed vault of the ceiling is enough to make even the most footsore of tourists gasp.
The ribbed wooden roof is truly a masterpiece of medieval architecture, with colourfully painted panels and a profusion of gilded bosses (see photos below). Unlike other chapter houses, such as that of Wells Cathedral, there is no central column to support the roof vaulting; the ceiling is "free standing" if you will, seeming almost to hang in space.
The stalls which line the chapter house are topped with a wonderful profusion of gargoyles - some humourous, some depicting souls in torment.
Chapter House entrance
Entrance to the Chapter House
ceiling detail
The ceiling, Chapter House
Ceiling, Chapter House
Detail of panels making up the elaborate ceiling of the Chapter House
Ceiling boss
The central ceiling boss
A very frightened looking gargoyle
Carved Head, Chapter House
A very pleased carved head above a stall in the Chapter House
Gargoyle, Chapter House
Gargoyle - man being eaten by a beast
More carved heads
And still more carved heads
Purbeck marble columns, Chapter House
Purbeck marble columns supporting the Chapter House stalls
Ceiling, Chapter House
The Chapter House ceiling - a wonderful example of vaulting style