South Choir Aisle

and Southeast Transept

The St Anselm Window, by Adam Bishop – CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

Western Nave

Fire Watchers Memorial
FontGreat West Window

Eastern Nave

Pulpit Altar
Compass Rose


Altar of the Sword Point
The Deans' Chapel

Western Crypt (North Aisle)

Ch. of Holy Innocents
St Nicholas Ch.
St Mary Magdalene Ch.

Eastern Crypt

Watching Chamber
Jesus Chapel

Western Crypt (South Aisle)

Huguenot Chapel
Our Lady Undercroft
St Gabriel Chapel

Pulpitum Steps

Royal Window Bell HarryGreat South Window


Parclose Screen
Archbishop's Throne
St Augustine's Chair

North Choir Aisle

Chichele Tomb
Bible Windows
Northeast Transept

Trinity Chapel North

Opus Alexandrinum
Miracle Windows
Henry IV Tomb
Becket Shrine

Trinity Chapel South

Corona Chapel
Black Prince
Miracle Windows

South Choir Aisle

St Anselm's Chapel
Bossanyi Windows
Southeast Transept

Southwest Transept

St Michael's Chapel
Whall Window
Crypt access & Exit

Great Cloister

Heraldic shields
South, East, North & West panes
Cloister Garth

Chapter House

Wagon Vault
Victorian stained glass

Hint. View the map ‘landscape’ on small screens.

MapAs you come down the steps from the Trinity Chapel, notice that they are visibly worn by the passage of thousands of Pilgrims who, in the 318 years between 1220-1538, completed the final few steps of their pilgrimage to the shrine of St Thomas on their knees.

What's here?

Immediately to your left at the foot of the steps from the Trinity Chapel, is St Anselm’s Chapel and, in the aisle opposite, the tombs of three archbishops – Kent, Stratford & Sudbury. Beyond this point,  the Bossanyi Windows are a major highlight of the Southeast Transept. and, beyond that, the tomb of Prior Henry Eastry and some notable thirteenth century stained glass from the collection of William Randolph Hearst, acquired by the Cathedral in 1956. 

Originally named the chapel of Saints Peter & Paul the chapel was rededicated to the second Norman archbishop, Anselm (1093-1109) after his canonisation in 1166. The chapel is a survivor of the great fire of 1174, which destroyed the roof and most of the fabric of the ‘glorious’ Romanesque Choir, built during Anselm’s tenure and completed only 68 years earlier, in 1106.  Thus, the architectural style in this chapel is predominantly Norman/Romanesque, except for the stonework of the South Window, which dates from 1336 and is a fine example of Decorated Gothic.

The stained glass in St Anselm’s Chapel (1959)

The wall painting of St Paul and the Viper (1160)

The altar (2005)

In the aisle opposite St Anselm’s Chapel there are three tombs of historical and architectural significance. 

Tomb of Archbishop Simon Sudbury (d.1381)

Tomb of Archbishop John Stratford (d.1348)

Tomb of Cardinal Archbishop John Kemp (d.1454)

The dramatic and colourful windows that immediately catch the eye in the Southeast Transept are the work of Hungarian-born Ervin Bossanyi (1891-1975). Though the artistry of the work can be appreciated in its own right, it is also laden with symbols of liberation and freedom, and explores themes that Bossanyi, as a Jewish refugee from Nazi oppression, held close to his heart.

The two lower larger windows, along with the two smaller windows in the gallery above, are replacements for Victorian glass shattered in the Baedeker air raid of June 1942. Viewed from left to right, bottom to top, they are –

Lower left Salvation was installed in 1958. It shows an imprisoned man being freed by an angel to be reunited with his wife and daughter, while others wait for salvation. Note the tiny symbolic swastika in the keyhole of a padlock to the left-hand prison door.

Lower right Peace was installed in 1956. The figure of Christ, incorporating some of the features of God the Father, stands, with children of the World at his feet, enjoying the blessings of peace poured forth by an angel.

Top left Faith shows Christ walking in a storm over the waves to his disciples, who are cowering in their boat in fear of the storm.

Top right Strength shows St Christopher, “the gentle giant”, and patron saint of travellers, carrying Christ on his shoulders.

There is an excellent description of the symbolism in the Bossanyi windows on the Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society web site:

  The Bossanyi Window

The lower walls of the Southeast Transept were completed in 1107 during Archbishop Anselm’s time, and survived the great fire of September 1174 – they still bear signs of scorching. William of Sens who was responsible for rebuilding after the fire, raised the height of the Transept to match the increased height of his rebuilt Choir in 1178.

Chapel of St John the Evangelist

Chapel of St Gregory the Great

The South Oculus window (c.1178)

As we leave the Southeast Transept there is, in the aisle just to the left, an unusual and puzzling feature set into the wall just below the monument to the brothers Nevil. It is thought to be a stonemason’s illustration of an arch in the “new” Gothic style, dating from around 1175.

The lower portion of the external walls of this aisle formed part of the original Romanesque Cathedral of 1107 that survived the great fire of 1174. During the reconstruction that followed, it seems that a mason carved a pointed arch with the “dog tooth” moulding into the Romanesque arcade, possibly as an example of the new Gothic style. Nobody knows the reason for sure, but it is certainly an early example the new style of pointed ornamentation that appeared from the late 12th century onwards.

Stained glass in the South aisle: The “Hearst” Windows

Memorials to Dean Nevil, Prior Eastry and Archbishop Reynolds

Where next?

 Follow the steps down to the X Southwest Transept

Accessible Itinerary. Return to the North Door via the lift.