Trinity Chapel North

Photo by Steve Evans CC BY 2.0, via 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.

MapThe construction of the Trinity Chapel was completed, under the direction of William the Englishman in 1184, just 9 years following the commencement of the rebuilding of the Choir by the unfortunate William of Sens who was so badly injured when he fell from scaffolding during construction of the Choir that he was unable to continue. The decorations and windows were not fully completed until c.1216-18, following the Prior and monks’ return from exile in France at the end of the protracted dispute between King John and Pope Innocent III over the Pope’s appointment of Archbishop Stephen Langton (1207/1229).

What's here?

The empty space in the centre of the Trinity Chapel, now marked by a single candle, once contained the magnificent Shrine of Thomas Becket, until swept away on the orders of Henry VIII in 1538 – the 12th century Opus Alexandrinum pavement, inlaid into the floor in front of the shrine was left intact. Further along the aisle, to our right, is the tomb of Henry IV and his queen Joan of Navarre. The six stained glass windows that line the north aisle include the Life of Becket window and four original thirteenth century Miracle Windows.  Beyond Henry IV and Joan are the tombs of Dean Wotton (right) and Archbishop Davidson (opposite).

The space in the centre of the Trinity Chapel is occupied by a solitary candle that marks the site of the Shrine of Thomas Becket that stood here for over 300 years between 1220 and 1538. In that time, the shrine attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Canterbury from all over Europe until it, and all other monuments to Saint Thomas, were destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII.

The shrine was bedecked in gold and precious stones – the votive offerings of the emperors, kings and other wealthy individuals who came here in pilgrimage. When the shrine was dismantled by Henry VIII’s men, the jewels and gold were packed into two coffers that took eight men to lift and it took 26 ox-carts to carry off the spoils to the Royal Treasury at the Tower of London.

 Video: The Becket Shrine c.1408

There is little evidence of the Shrine’s existence today, other than a shallow groove in the red marble floor, marking the outline of the shrine’s base – the imprint of the knees of countless pilgrims, as they knelt in prayer.

The floor at the western end of the central area of the Trinity Chapel is inlaid with an intricate Italian marble mosaic pavement, known as the Opus Alexandrinum, after the style of mosaic paving associated with the 3rd century Roman Emperor, Alexander Severus.

The pavement is a striking piece of medieval mosaic art, parts of which may predate the shrine itself. The pavement is flanked on either side by 36 roundels representing the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the twelve months of the year, and seven virtues and vices, interspersed by some mythological beasts. The origin of the roundels is unknown, although it is possible that they have an association with St Omer, France to where the monks of the Priory were exiled between 1207 and 1213 during the prolonged quarrel between Pope Innocent III and King John over the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Henry IV (1399/1413) is the only monarch to be buried in the Cathedral. He was the first Lancastrian king and, incidentally, the first king to give his coronation speech in English. Here, he lies alongside his second wife Joan of Navarre, who died in 1437, surviving him by 24 years. The tomb was built two years after Joan’s death by the master mason Richard Beke.

The troubled reign of Henry IV

The opening of the tomb in 1832

The Chantry Chapel

The Miracle Windows are so-called because they depict some the of miracles from the Miracles of St. Thomas of Canterbury (Miracula Sancti Thomae Cantuariensis), recorded by Benedict of Peterborough (with later contributions by William of Canterbury) from their observations at the first tomb of Thomas Becket in the crypt between 1171 and 1180.  Of the six windows in the north aisle of the Trinity Chapel (going clockwise) the first (the Life of Becket) and second are relatively modern replacements or reproductions, but the remaining four are substantially as they were in the early thirteenth century.

First Miracle Window (n.VII)

Scenes from the Life of Becket window

Second Miracle Window (n.VI)

Third Miracle Window (n.V)

Scenes from the Third Miracle Window

Fourth Miracle Window (n.IV)

The mysterious Régale of France

Scenes from the Fourth Miracle Window

Fifth Miracle Window (n.III)

Sixth Miracle Window (n.II)

Immediately opposite the last two miracle windows in the north aisle is the most striking Renaissance tomb in the Cathedral; that of Dean Nicholas Wotton. The effigy shows the Dean kneeling in his Doctor of Divinity surplice, with an obelisk towering above him. The Latin epitaph (written by the Dean himself) on the pillar nearby, praises his many accomplishments, adding that he was “indeed slim of build, and though of small stature, yet upright, he had a healthy constitution and the look of a gentleman.”*


The ‘modern’ tomb opposite, is that of Dr. Randall Davidson (1903-28). Strictly speaking, it is a cenotaph – an empty tomb – as the Archbishop is buried in the cloister garden. He has the distinction of being both the first archbishop to retire from office, in November 1928 (he died in 1930), and the last archbishop to be memorialised with a conventional tomb and sculpted effigy.

The bronze effigy, by British sculptor, Cecil Thomas (1885-1976) depicts the archbishop in his cope, his hand raised in blessing.

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