1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cancelli
CANCELLI (plural of Lat. cancellus, dim. of cancer, a crossing bar), in architecture, the term given to barriers which correspond to the modern balustrade or railing, especially the screen dividing the body of a church from the part occupied by the ministers; hence “chancel” (q.v.). By the Romans cancelli were similarly employed to divide off portions of the courts of law (cf. the English "bar").