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United Kingdom: King's College Chapel - The Cambridge Symbol

Published: 5.10.2011
In the UK you can see many buildings, which gives a deep admiration. One of them is the famous chapel of King's College Chapel, which today's article will be about.

The foundation stone of King's College Chapel was laid on the feast of St. James the 25th July 1446 by King Henry VI. He had big plans with the Chapel, he wanted to no other building could equal in beauty and size. The building, which was designed according to plan of Reginald, who was the king's master mason of Ely (later on the Chapel were participated the masons - John Wolrich, Simon Clerk and John Wastell). When in 1455 the famous War of the Roses began, the building ran continuously for eleven years, when its expenses should be covered by one thousand pounds from the king's lands in the Duchy of Lancaster. When Henry IV. was captivated, the workers simply packed up and left.

After the assassination of Henry in May 1471 became King Edward IV., who didn’t get to much attention to build a school, building started to fall into disappear. After the inauguration of Richard III., the situation has improved due to his generosity and the chapel and reached its predetermined height (28 meters) and more over it has covered  by a wooden roof. In the time of the new king Henry VII., who defeated and killed Richard III., at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the construction of the chapel stopped for another two years. But then he realized that his dynasty would need to consolidate its authority and therefore decided to finish the building. The first part of money he sent in the chest, which can be seen today in the chapel. In 1508, the work got into full pace. In 1515 in his successor time Henry VIII. the work was almost finished. But the building was still without the majestic windows.

Total length of the chapel measuring 87 meters and width of the main dome is 12 meters. The chapel boasts the largest fan-shaped vault in the world which was built between 1512-1515 by master of stonemason John Wastellem. The World debut of the building is stained glass (which had never been used), for whose implementation is Gaylon Hone, who is with his companions over the years 1526-1531 created. The chapel has on each side twelve huge windows and even larger windows on the west and east end. For last four of them were responsible Francis Williamson and Symon Symondes. In the Civil War in the 17th century was chapel used by military leader Oliver Cromwell for training its soldiers. The serious damage didn’t happen in that time. During the Second World War, when the chapel miraculously escaped the bombing, windows were moved to safety. This occasion was also used for their clean, repair and documentation.

At the present time, Chapel commonly used for worship, concerts and events with the university character. Among the well-known events include the annual May concert at King's College Music Society, which is very popular not only among students but also among the visitors who came to the city.

The chapel is prized for its excellent acoustics, which are also used such world-famous Chapel choir, which consists of university students and students from nearby King's College School. From The chapel are also broadcasted by BBC carols and masses “Nine Lessons and Carol” on Christmas Day.

Text: Maxim Kucer

Photo: Wikipedia.org - Lofty, Cmyk, Richie


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