Architectural terms: Chapel

In traditional Christian usage, a chapel is a building or part of a building enclosing an altar and intended for private worship. The word is derived from the cloak (Latin: capella) of Saint Martin, a famous relic and the special talisman of the French king. This cloak was kept by the king's clergy (Latin: capellani, hence chaplains) in a private church, which thus became known as the chapel. The term was then extended to other private royal churches and eventually to nonroyal structures.

Lawrence Nees, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Delaware, Newark.
Source: 2001 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, ©2000 Grolier Interactive Inc. — All Rights Reserved.
Bibliography: G. H. Cook, Medieval Chantries and Chantry Chapels, rev. ed. (1963; out-of-print); Louis Grodecki, Gothic Architecture (1985); Anthony Jones, Welsh Chapels (1996).
Relevant publications: Robin S. Oggins, Cathedrals (1996). Otto von Simson, The Gothic Cathedral: Origins of Gothic Architecture & the Medieval Concept of Order (1988). Stan Parry, Great Gothic Cathedrals of France (2001).
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