1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chevet

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CHEVET, the term employed in French architecture to distinguish the apsidal end of a church, in which the apses or chapels radiate round the choir aisle. The two earliest examples (11th and 12th century) are found in the churches of St Hilaire, Poitiers, and Notre Dame-du-Port, Clermont, where there are four apses. A more usual number is five, and the central apse, being of larger dimensions, becomes the Lady chapel. This was the case in Westminster Abbey, where Henry III. introduced the chevet into England; Henry VII.’s chapel is built on the site of the original Lady chapel, which must have been of exceptional size, as it extended the whole length of the present structure. In Solignac, Fontevrault and Paray-le-Monial there are only three, in these cases sufficiently distant one from the other to allow of a window between. The usual number in all the great cathedrals of the 13th century, as in Bourges, Chartres, Reims, Troyes, Tours, Bayeux, Antwerp and Bruges, is five. In Beauvais, Amiens and Cologne there are seven apsidal chapels, and in Clairvaux nine radiating but rectangular chapels. In the 14th and 15th centuries the central apse was increased in size and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as in St Ouen at Rouen.