Including the Corona
Fire Watchers Memorial
Great West Window
Altar of the Sword Point
The Deans' Chapel
Western Crypt (North Aisle)
Ch. of Holy Innocents
St Nicholas Ch.
St Mary Magdalene Ch.
Western Crypt (South Aisle)
Our Lady Undercroft
St Gabriel Chapel
Great South Window
St Augustine's Chair
North Choir Aisle
Trinity Chapel North
Henry IV Tomb
Trinity Chapel South
South Choir Aisle
St Anselm's Chapel
St Michael's Chapel
Crypt access & Exit
South, East, North & West panes
Victorian stained glass
Hint. View the map ‘landscape’ on small screens.
MapRounding the ambulatory from the north aisle to the south aisle of the Trinity Chapel, we reach the Corona Chapel – the easternmost point of the Cathedral. Continuing into the south aisle, we find the remaining Miracle Windows and several noteworthy tombs, including that of the Black Prince.
The Corona, completed by William the Englishman in 1184, is unique in English Cathedral architecture and was built specifically to house the ‘corona’ (the crown, or top part of the skull) of St Thomas Becket.
The clerk Edward Grim’s graphic, first-hand account of Becket’s murder in December 1170 describes how Richard le Breton’s final sword blow severed the crown of Becket’s scalp and snapped the point of le Breton’s sword. The crown was recovered from the crime scene by the monks and preserved in a silver reliquary. Pilgrims visiting the Corona chapel were able to view and, if of sufficient status, also kiss the reliquary.
In recent times, the Chapel has been re-dedicated to the Saints and Martyrs of Our Own Time. A Book of Remembrance, naming 21 priests, men and women murdered for their Christian faith since 1916, is maintained here.
Stained glass in the Corona (c.1200-1220)
The Jesse Windows
The Redemption Window
The fourth and fifth windows
Monuments in the Corona
Besides the tomb of the Black Prince (see below) there are three other noteworthy tombs in this corner of the Trinity Chapel:
The Tomb of Cardinal of Châtillon, Odet de Coligy (1571)
Tomb of Archbishop William Courtenay (1396)
Tomb of Archbishop Hubert Walter (c.1205)
Edward of Woodstock (1330-1376), Prince of Wales and elder son of King Edward III was the most celebrated and the most feared warrior of his time. His tomb here in the Trinity Chapel (attributed to Master Mason Henry Yevele) is made of Purbeck marble, and his magnificent brass-overgilt effigy shows him in full armour, spurred and helmeted, with a small bulldog at his feet. Shields around the base of the tomb feature the fleur de lys (signifying the Plantagenet claim to the French throne) and the Prince’s coat of arms – a plume of three ostrich feathers and the motto “Ich diene – “I serve” – a motto which has been adopted by all subsequent Princes of Wales.
The life, marriage and death of the Black Prince
The Prince was married to his cousin (for which he needed papal dispensation) Joan “the Fair Maid” of Kent in 1361. He survived many battles but did not outlive his father and died in 1376, aged 45, of a debilitating bacterial infection contracted while fighting in Spain. When the king, Edward III, died a few months later, in 1377, he was succeeded by the Black Prince’s 12-year-old son, who became Richard II.
The Prince’s Will laid out very specific instructions regarding his tomb, which were followed to the letter, apart from his request to be buried in the crypt undercroft, alongside his chantry chapel (now the Huguenot Chapel). The Black Prince was a national hero and therefore was buried here in the Trinity Chapel alongside the Shrine of Thomas Becket.
The Black Prince’s ‘Achievement’
The prince’s sword disappeared long ago, probably during the upheavals of the English Civil War (1642-51) as did his dagger and sporting shield – and all the precious stones set into his helmet. The items on display over the tomb are faithful replicas made in 1954 – a selection of the originals can be seen in the Making History exhibition in the Crypt (subject to rotation for conservation purposes). It had been previously assumed that the achievements were purpose-made to adorn the tomb, but conservation work carried out for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Opus Anglicanum embroidery exhibition in 2016, revealed that the jupon had actually been worn by the prince during his lifetime.
As with the windows in the north aisle, the original purpose of the six windows in the south aisle was to depict some of the miracles that were observed at the tomb of Thomas Becket by the monks Benedict and William between 1180 and 1220. The windows here in the south aisle suffered much greater damage at the hands of Puritans in 1643 during the English Civil War, as they were more accessible from the outside. As a result of this, the second and fourth windows and most of the third, contain only plain glass.
The first Miracle Window
The third Miracle Window
The fifth Miracle Window
The sixth Miracle Window
As we leave the south side of Trinity Chapel, via the steps down towards the South Choir Aisle, take a moment to examine the steps themselves. These are the Pilgrim’s Steps. For over 300 years from 1220 (until the Reformation of Henry VIII swept it all away in 1538) pilgrims were expected to climb this last flight of steps to reach the Shrine of Thomas Becket on their knees. The groove worn into the stone steps by the knees of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims is clearly visible.