King's College Chapel University Cambridge Gothic nave chancel church fine medieval Hall Interior vaulted ceiling

- Image ID: C8M99F
SOTK2011 / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: C8M99F
King's College Chapel is the chapel to King's College of the University of Cambridge, and is one of the finest examples of late Gothic (Perpendicular) English architecture, while its early Renaissance rood screen separating the nave and chancel, erected in 1532-36 in a striking contrast of style, has been called by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, "the most exquisite piece of Italian decoration surviving in England". Henry VI planned a university counterpart to Eton College (whose chapel is very similar, although unfinished), the chapel being the only portion that was built. The King decided the dimensions of the Chapel. 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 (or Cloos), was recorded as being the surveyor, which has been generally accepted to be synonymous with architect. The first stone of the Chapel was laid, by Henry himself, on St James' Day, July 25, 1446, the College having been begun in 1441. By the end of the reign of Richard III (1485), despite the Wars of the Roses, five bays had been completed and a timber roof erected. Henry VII visited in 1506, paying for the work to resume and even leaving money so that the work could continue after his death. In 1515, under Henry VIII, the building was complete but the great windows had yet to be made. 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 features the world's largest fan vault, constructed between 1512 and 1515 by master mason John Wastell. The Chapel also features fine medieval stained glass and, above the altar, The Adoration of the Magi by Rubens, originally painted in 1634 for the Convent of the White Nuns at Louvain in Belgium.