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
Like the two Bible windows in the North Choir Aisle, the Redemption Window has an educational purpose and, like those windows, draws upon Old Testament stories that are said to foreshadow or ‘prefigure’ events depicted in the New Testament. The theme of the window is the Redemption of man, through the death and resurrection of Christ. The window is organised into 5 groups of 5 scenes, laid out around alternating square and diamond-shaped central panels. The central New Testament scene in each group is surrounded by four prefiguring Old Testament scenes.
The window is described from bottom to top, following the biblical chronology of the events depicted.
Bottom group – Crucifixion
1The offering of Isaac. God tests the loyalty of Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. God intervenes to save Isaac. An angel holds the point of Abraham’s sword.
2Moses strikes the rock and water pours out. (When the side of Christ was wounded, blood poured out). 3*The Crucifixion. Christ on the cross, with Mary Magdalene and Mary, his mother, left, and St Luke and St John, right. 4The Passover. A man paints a “T” or “tau” (prophetic of the cross) above the door. Two men cut the throat of a lamb and its blood gushes into a basin.
5The grapes of Eschcol. Just as Christ and Simon of Cyrene bore their crosses, spies, sent by Moses, return from the Promised Land, carrying grapes (the Blood of Christ). One (the Jew) refuses to look back. The other (the Gentile) longs to see it. Wine for the Eucharist. The Jews reject Christ. The Gentiles adore him.
Second group up – Entombment
1Samson in bed with Delilah, who tries to entice him to tell the secret of his strength. The Philistines wait outside, hoping to learn the secret. 2Jonah has refused to do God’s will and has run away to sea, where frightened sailors who blame Jonah for the a storm, throw him overboard, where he is swallowed by a whale.
3The Entombment. Two men lower Christ’s body into the tomb, while a third pours on ointment. Mary, mother of Christ, and Mary Magdalene look on.
4Joseph has been cast into a pit, dug by his jealous brothers, on account of the coat of many colours, given to him by their father, Jacob. God saves Joseph. 5Daniel, in Babylon, is thrown to the lions for worshipping God. The lions refuse to touch him. God has intervened.
Third group up – Resurrection
1Jonah comes out of the whale and steps on to dry land.
2*After 40 days, Noah receives a dove, released earlier, bringing an olive branch, proving that there must be dry land nearby 3 *The Resurrection. Christ steps from the tomb, with an angel on either side 4*Michal, David’s wife, helps him escape out of a window when Saul comes to kill him
5Moses walks towards a burning bush with three sheep. God orders him to remove his shoes. This is Holy ground – his feet will not burn.
Fourth group up – Ascenscion
1 The ascension of Elijah into Heaven in a chariot of fire 2 The sundial of Ahaz, with the red globe of the sun, above Isaiah, who stands by the sick bed of Hezekiah
3*The Ascension of Christ. The Apostles and the Virgin Mary stand looking on as Christ’s feet disappear into the clouds
4 The High Priest enters the Holy of Holies. 5Enoch is seen praying and ascending to Heaven.
Top group – Pentecost
1Christ sitting in Majesty with his right hand raised in blessing.
2Consecration of Aaron, who kneels before Moses, and his sons to the priesthood. The Law is given to Moses. 3Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, shown as tongues of fire, streams down to the heads of the eleven remaining Apostles (Judas has been lost). 4Moses judges the people of Israel in the presence of Jethro, who advises him to delegate power to his advisers.
5Moses receives the tablets of the Law from God in Sinai.
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 curious animal at his feet. The animal is said to be a leopard, though it has also been described as a small bulldog. 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.
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.