Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Gallery Definition

History and Architecture

Gallery

Generically speaking a gallery is a platform, raised above the church floor. Galleries were often located at the west end of the church, over the west door, and used to house musicians or singers performing during church services. For this reason they are sometimes called minstrel's galleries or musician's galleries. Uncommon during the medieval period, galleries came into use in the late 17th century. During Cromwell's Commmonwealth the playing of organs or similar instruments in churces was banned, and many organs were destroyed.

When singing and music was reintroduced during the Restoration period under Charles II, there was a shortage of organs, so local musicians joined forces and played during services. Galleries were built for the use of these musicians, often using wood from dismantled rood lofts and screens. When these musicians played, the congregation would turn to face the gallery. Organ playing once more gained popularity in the 18th century and many minstrel galleries were simply used as extra seating.

Related: Rood   Organ  

Kedington, Suffolk

Kedington, Suffolk

Attraction search
in



English Heritage

English Heritage membership

English Heritage membership

Free entry to English Heritage properties throughout England, plus discounted admission to Historic Scotland and Cadw properties in Scotland and Wales.

Membership details

About English Heritage


HISTORY CORNER
Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



The history of Anglo-Saxon England is told in what contemporary manuscript?



13 April, 1640

Opening of the Short Parliament

Parliament refused to grant Charles I new taxes, and attacked policies of Stratford and Archbishop Laud

This king's men brought the Stone of Scone to London, where it stayed beneath the coronation chair for almost 7 centuries



Passionate about British Heritage!