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Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel of Glastonbury Abbey is one of the finest late 12th-century monuments in Britain. It was built immediately after the disastrous fire which consumed much of the abbey in 1184, and was completed by 1186 or 1187. The chapel is famous for its very rich sculpted ornament including much chevron decoration, capitals in Early English style and portals with elaborate floral and figure sculpture.

In the course of conservation work in 1995 a detailed study of the chapel's interior revealed extensive evidence of a complex and very costly painted scheme covering many of the wall surfaces. It almost certainly dates to 1184-99 - probably to 1184-89. The discoveries add a new dimension to an understanding of the chapel. They confirm the statement of Adam of Domerham that it was a work 'of the most beautiful workmanship, omitting no possible ornament'.

This report, written by local archaeologist Jerry Sampson and illustrated by many colured line drawings, presents in detail the fragmentary evidence for the scheme. It is hosted by the Archaeology Data Service, the national body which publishes and archives archaeological records of this sort.

Click on the link below to access the report:

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The Author, Jerry Sampson

Jerry Sampson is a leading specialist in the archaeological study of medieval buildings, especially the great churches. He has carried out some of the most important building studies in south-west England, including those of the West Front at Wells and the Lady Chapel at Glastonbury, and is the author of several major publications in this field. He is the Consultant Archaeologist to St David's Cathedral and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and lives in Glastonbury.

The Archaeology Data Service

Based at the University of York and part-funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the Joint Information Systems Committee, The Archaeology Data Service is the leading body in Britain publishing a archiving the results of archaeological work through digital means. This appears on their web homepage:

'The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) supports research, learning and teaching with high quality and dependable digital resources. It does this by preserving digital data in the long term, and by promoting and disseminating a broad range of data in archaeology. The ADS promotes good practice in the use of digital data in archaeology, it provides technical advice to the research community, and supports the deployment of digital technologies.'