Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Cloister Definition

History and Architecture

Cloister

A covered walk, usually enclosing a square green space, or garth, with church buildings on all sides. Cloisters are often found in monasteries and frequently in large churches. The cloister was often adjoined to the church nave, and the transept provided another side. Monastic buildings were ranged around the other two sides. Cloisters are most often found on the south side of the nave, so that they would get the sun. The covered walkway is usually separated from the garth by a stone screen or arcading, and the cloister roof can be very elaborately vaulted and decorated with bosses.

Most surviving monasteries retain some evidence of a cloister, but those connnected to cathedrals and larger churches have survived best. Among the finest remaining cloisters in Britain are those at Gloucester Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and a more modern example at Iona Abbey.

Related: Nave   Transept  

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 mystery historic attraction
See larger image



This outspoken politician was the first female to sit in the House of Commons



23 July, 1637

Prayer Book riots at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Worshippers riot when Archbishop Laud's new prayer book is used for the first time

This monarch was the first Plantagenet king



Passionate about British Heritage!