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Using the Medieval Chapel 1348-1548

On 6 August 1348 Edward III founded two new colleges at his two favourite palaces, St George's at Windsor Castle and St Stephen's within the Palace of Westminster.  

Staffed by priests and singers, both colleges were intended to display the king's piety to those visiting his palaces and to offer prayers for the dead. English kings until Henry VIII put their own mark on St Stephen's, giving it lands and money. St George's survived the Reformation and the closure of virtually all the medieval colleges, while St Stephen's was dissolved in 1548.

Under Henry III St Stephen's served as the king's household chapel, meaning that it was used by the monarch and his court when they were at Westminster. When the king was away, it had a very small permanent staff. All of that changed in 1348, when St Stephen's College took control of the upper and lower chapels.

For the next two hundred years, there would be lavish church services and music daily in the chapels, with a permanent group of up to 48 people responsible for services.

Find out more about the college and canons.



Image: Detail of ‘Donors King Edward and St. George' by Ernest William Tristram, tempera on board, 1927. Parliamentary Art Collection WOA 2925


Last updated April 2017

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St Stephen's Chapel 1184-1363


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External link

For more on the history of St Stephen'€™s Chapel, see the Victoria County History online