Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - King's college
King's College is one of
the oldest colleges in
Cambridge. The king
went great lengths to
ensure that the chapel
was without equal and
the construction took
nearly a century to
complete. Built in the
Perpendicular style it
looks more like a small
cathedral than a chapel
and even gives that
King’s College Chapel
• The Chapel has a total
length of 289 feet, and
the width of the main
vault is 40 feet. The
interior height is 80
feet and the exterior
height is 94 feet.
It has a simple
It features the world's
largest fan vault,
1512 and 1515 by
master mason John
King’s College Chapel (far left) overlooking the Cam River
• The architect of the chapel is disputed. Reginald Ely, who was commissioned
in 1444 as the head press mason, was a possible architect of the chapel.
However, Nicholas Close , was recorded as being the surveyor, which has
been generally accepted to be synonymous with architect.
Chapel nave and choir
• All of these chapels are
designed for the saying
and singing of masses
• The body of a church is
very small, not much
space for a
congregation, and the
important space is for
• King’s College Choir is
considered one of the
finest in the world.
Stained and Painted Glass Windows
• The walls are filled with
huge stained and painted
glass windows. All were made
between 1515 and 1547 by Dutch
and English glass painters. Together
these windows are the most
complete collection of early 16th-
century glass in England.
• Each window contains four main
scenes. The lower lights on the
north side depict the lives of the
Virgin Mary and Christ up to the
Passion, which is shown in the East
• The ceiling is all half fans of stone,
delicately crimped, sweeping to
meet each other along the nave. It is
as well to be indoors on a sunny day,
if “indoors” has such a body of
The Great Windows
• The windows of King's College Chapel are
some of the finest in the world from their
era. There are 12 large windows on each
side of the chapel, and larger windows at
the east and west ends. With the
exception of the west window they are
by Flemish hands and date from 1515 to
• Barnard Flower, the first non-Englishman
appointed as the King's Glazier,
completed four windows.
• Gaylon Hone with three partners (two
English and one Flemish) are responsible
for the east window and 16 others
between 1526 and 1531. The final four
were made by Francis
Williamson and Symon Symondes.
• The one modern window is that in the
west wall, which is by the Clayton and
Bell company and dates from 1879.
The Great East
• The Great East
here, depicts the
crucifixion of Christ,
is the last window to
Below the window
is 'the Adoration of
the Magi' painted by
Rubens in 1634.
This shows a detail view including part of the carved frieze below the windows.
Notice that one of the decorations is different from the others and is, in fact, a
person's head. This is the stonemason's self portrait left by him as a form of
Plan of Fan Vaulting in King’s College Chapel
• A fan vault is a form of vault used in the Gothic style, in which the ribs are all of the same
curve and spaced equidistantly, in a manner resembling a fan.
• The largest fan vault in the world can be found in the chapel of King's College, Cambridge.
• The ribs of a fan vault are of equal curvature and rotated at equal distances around a
central (vertical) axis, forming the conoid shape which gives rise to the name. In between
sequences of conoids, flat central spandrels fill the space.
The ceiling is all half fans of stone, delicately crimped, sweeping to meet each other along
The Chapel Roof (not open to the public)
Gatehouse and Screen
• The Gatehouse and Screen from outside in King's Parade with
the east end of the chapel standing prominently beyond. The
rather interesting architecture originates from the design of
William Wilkins (who also designed the National Gallery in
London) in the 1820s.
South Side of the Chapel
• During the first 15
years of construction
the stone used came
from quarries at
Tadcaster in Yorkshire
which the college
• There was a pause in
the work at this time.
Work restarted 22
years later but a
different stone was
used. The demarcation
line between the two
types of stone can be
seen in the buttresses.
• The West Door with its variety of adornments including Tudor Roses.
• This door is supposedly used only by Archbishops and Kings.
West Facade from the Cam River.
Side View of King’s College Chapel
The Main Gatehouse
• The Main Gatehouse from inside Front Court with the Wilkin's Building just
showing on the right.
• The Fountain, in the right half of the picture, is surmounted by a statue of
Henry VI with the symbolic figures of Religion and Learning seated below.
Main Dining Room, King’s College , Cambridge
(2nd Floor, lights lit for diner)
“The outside of the chapel…its high domes and pinnacles can be seen
like a sailing ship always voyaging never arriving, lit up at night and
visible for miles..”
(King’s College, Cambridge )