Chapel/Capella/Kapelle

All the above words are derived from the lovely story of St Martin (316 AD – 397 AD) who divided his cloak to give part to a beggar. The remaining part of the cloak was stored as a relic and the building became known as capella (from Italian for a cloak). Hence the name chapel evolved. He later became Bishop of Tours.

From that we have the Chapel Royal….which dated from the late 13th century. It was not a building but a group of people who travelled with the rest of the Court and held services wherever the monarch was residing at the time. King James VI commissioned a Chapel Royal to be built in Stirling Castle in 1594.

A Chapel Royal was built in Whitehall, but burned down in 1698,and it has been in St James’ Palace since then. There are others in Hampton Court palace and the Tower of London.

All the Chapels Royal have men and boys in the choir, and Priests, with an organist, choirmaster and composer, and a sub-organist.

And all called after an Italian cloak!

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