Music, School of


Date of this Version



Published in Medieval England: An Encyclopedia, ed. Paul Szarmach, M. Teresa Tavormina, Joel T. Rosenthal, Catherine E. Karkov, Peter M. Lefferts, & Elizabeth Parker McLachlan (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), p. 400.


Copyright © 1998 Paul Szarmach, M. Teresa Tavormina, & Joel T. Rosenthal.


A distinctive formal feature of English Gothic church architecture; provision of a Lady Chapel was a central objective of the campaigns of choir remodeling and eastern extension that altered the floorplans of most English cathedrals and abbey churches from the later 12th through the 14th century. The Lady Chapel, a large hall church of roughly the same dimensions as the choir itself, was most frequently located in a rectangular space thrusting eastward from the east end of the choir. In churches laid out like Salisbury this was a low, projecting space emerging from the main mass of the building by only a few bays, as at Salisbury itself, or almost entirely freestanding, as at Gloucester or Westminster. High projecting Lady Chapels sustained the roofline of the main building, as at Bristol or Worcester. A second popular location for the Lady Chapel was in the place of honor immediately beneath the east window in churches with an aisled rectangle plan and flush east end, as at York. There are a number of common exceptions to these schemes of eastern axial placement, the most significant being north of the choir in a location east of the north transept, as at Ely.

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