Cathedral Cloister National Heritage List Data

Cathedral Cloister is listed on the National Heritage List for England with the following data. Some information may have become outdated since the date of listing. Text courtesy of Historic England. © Crown Copyright, reprinted under the Open Government License.

National Heritage List for England Facts

List Entry ID
Non Civil Parish
Grid Reference

National Heritage List for England Description


SO8318NW CATHEDRAL PRECINCTS 844-1/8/43 Cathedral Cloister and Lavatorium 23/01/52 (Formerly Listed as: CATHEDRAL PRECINCTS Cathedral Church of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity)


Cloister on the north side of the nave of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (qv); until 1538 the great cloister of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter. Six bays of the east alley from the transept of the Cathedral Church to the door of the Chapter House (qv) built c1360, probably by Thomas of Cambridge, master-mason, for Abbot Horton, and notable as the earliest recorded use of fan vaulting in England; the other alleys built 1381-1412 to the same general design, but with slightly different details, by Robert Lesyngham, master-mason; restored in C19 and C20. MATERIALS: ashlar, lead roofs; roof timbers above the south alley replaced c1960 by pre-stressed concrete construction. PLAN: a large, square garth with a cloister alley on each side, each of ten bays between corner bays; the lavatorium in the cloister projects into the garth at the west end of the north alley (bays 2-5). EXTERIOR: the garth wall of the east alley of nine bays with a narrower tenth bay at the south end, the bays defined by mostly narrow but also several wider buttresses, all in two stages, with lower raking offsets and thin strip buttresses above which offset under a continuous, crowning, moulded string course with coped parapet; at the bases of the lower offsets to the buttresses a moulded string course which continues across the face of the window in each bay as a boldly projecting transom designed to throw off rainwater; in each of the nine full-width bays a large eight-light, arched window with a central super-mullion supporting two major arches which divide the tracery pattern of intersecting ogee arches to the lights at springing level and foiled panels above, the narrow tenth bay at the south end of six-lights with similar tracery. In the garth wall of the south alley each of the ten bays, defined by similar buttresses, is infilled to the level of the moulded string course at the base of the buttress offsets by walling pierced by two small two-light windows with traceried heads which light carrels within the alley; above the string

course in each bay a six-light window with tracery of similar but less complex pattern than in the windows of the east alley. The west alley also of ten bays with full-height windows with tracery similar to the south range; in the north range, except for bays which contain the lavatorium, the design of the windows and buttresses is similar to the west range. The outer wall of the lavatorium projecting onto the garth is of four bays defined by buttresses with offsets and crowned by pinnacles, in each bay two two-light windows facing the garth, and a similar window at each return end of the projection. INTERIOR: the design of exceptional interest; generally in each alley the bays defined by slender wall shafts with moulded bases and capitals which rise to support the springing of the conoids of the fan vaulting, on the inner walls in each bay a blind panel, framed by the wall shafts and vaulting, reflects the pattern of the opposite window in the garth wall unless interrupted by a door or window opening. In the east alley are doors to the Chapter House and former Monks' Dormitory (qv). In the south alley within the garth wall are twenty carrels or desk recesses, two to each bay, each opening with a moulded segmental-arched head, and all surmounted by a richly embattled cornice, and with cloister windows above. In the north alley four bays of the garth wall open through two arches in each bay into the lavatorium, and within the lavatorium are eight bays with fan vaulting; along its outer wall a stone bench for a trough for washing, opposite in the inner wall a groined recess for towels, in the west corner bay a C13 doorway with jamb shafts and moulded arch to the forme