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The Chapterhouse at Lincoln Cathedral. Note the flying buttresses surrounding the building.

A chapter house or chapterhouse is a building or room attached to a cathedral or collegiate church in which meetings are held. They can also be found in medieval monasteries.

When part of a monastery, the chapter house is generally located on the eastern wing of the cloister. It comprises a large space, in order to hold all the monks of the monastery, and is often highly ornamented. In some Romanesque or Gothic monasteries, the entrance to the chapter house constitutes a veritable façade in miniature, with a door surrounded by highly decorated archivolts.

The community of monks would meet in the chapter house with the abbot to "hold chapter"; that is, to read aloud from the rule book and bible and discuss matters concerning the monastery and its inhabitants.[1] The meetings generally took place in the morning, after mass; the monks would sit along the length of the walls in strict age-order. At the end of the meeting the monks would publicly confess their sins or denounce others' (anonymously).

The side of the cloister on which the chapter house was located was usually the first to be constructed; it would have begun to be built shortly after the church’s frame was erected.

The chapter house of Canterbury cathedral

When attached to a cathedral, the cathedral chapter meets there. When attached to a collegiate church, the dean, prebendaries and canons of the college meet there.

Examples of chapter houses can been seen at:

References

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Simple English

File:Lincoln cathedral
The Chapter house at Lincoln Cathedral. Note the flying buttresses surrounding the building.

A Chapter house or chapterhouse is a special building or room attached to a cathedral or large church. It is where the cathedral chapter meetings are held. Chapter houses were also built in mediaeval monasteries.

Cathedrals

In a cathedral, the chapter is always chaired by the Dean, whose job it is to run (manage) the cathedral. Members of the chapter will include Canons, who may include top lay officials as well as priests.[1] It is a management group for the cathedral.

The side of the cloister with the chapter house was usually the first to be constructed; it would have been started shortly after the church’s frame was put up.

Monsteries

When part of a monastery, the chapter house is usually on the eastern wing of the cloister. It is a large space, to hold all the monks of the monastery. It is built in the same style as the churches of that day. In some Romanesque or Gothic monasteries, the entrance to the chapter house is a miniature version of the entrance to a cathedral.

The community of monks would meet in the chapter house with the Abbot to 'hold chapter'. This meant to read aloud from the rule book and Bible, and to discuss matters concerning the monastery and its monks.[2] The meetings generally took place in the morning, after mass; the monks would sit along the length of the walls in strict age-order. At the end of the meeting the monks would publicly confess their sins or denounce others' (anonymously).

References

  1. Lay: not ordained, but play a part in the church. At local parish level: the Warden, Sexton, Organist, Vergers of local parish churches are the laity. They form a church council called the vestry.
  2.   "Chapter House". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company. 


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