chapter house

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chapter house, a building in which the chapter of the clergy meets. Its plan varies, the simplest being a rectangle. At Worcester, England, the Norman builders created a circular chapter house (c.1100), with vaulting springing from a central pillar. Subsequent examples, adopting this central support for their vaulted roofs but frequently having a polygonal plan, are among the most distinctive achievements of the English Gothic builders. Those at Salisbury, Wells, and Westminster Abbey (1250) are octagonal, while that at Lincoln is decagonal. At York, the octagonal room (c.1300) exhibits a departure in that it dispenses with the central column and is covered with a vaulted wooden roof.

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chap·ter house • n. a building used for the meetings of the canons of a cathedral or other religious community. ∎  a place where a college fraternity or sorority meets.