Posted 7 years ago
One of the postcards collected by the Millers in 1906 is this external shot of the Chapter House. With it I have put a plan of the Minster to show the position of the Chapter House. The function of the chapter house in cathedrals is that of a meeting-room. The Cathedral Chapter meets there. In accordance with canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics (chapter) formed to advise a bishop or archbishop. It's the Admin Centre of the Minster.
In mediaeval times the chapter house was positioned in the eastern section of a Cathedral or monastery.... so too here in York.
The Chapter House was begun around 1260. It is a delicate example of the Gothic Decorated style which was then in vogue. English chapter houses tend to be more elaborate and highly-decorated than the Continental ones. The octagonal shape of the building allowed for spectacular displays of stained glass, now mostly lost in other examples, though not at York.
"The chapter-house is octagonal in shape, and is crowned by a lofty pyramidal roof. Its chief, almost its only decoration, is provided by the buttresses and the beautiful tracery of the acutely-pointed windows. The buttresses are of very curious design. They are joined to the wall of the chapter-house for nearly half their height, and up to this point are quite plain. They are then narrowed into lofty pinnacles, and these pinnacles are connected with the wall by two small flying buttresses, the lower one plainly moulded and sloping upwards to the wall, the upper one being horizontal and richly decorated with arcading, two arcades to each side of every buttress. At the point at which the buttress narrows into the pinnacle there are cusped gables with gargoyles on the outer side of the buttresses. The pinnacles are decorated with slender shafts and richly ornamented gables."
"The Cathedral Church of York" by A. Clutton-Brock.
This is a Frith Series postcards numbered 18395.