The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 57 From London To Windsor

Albert Memorial Chapel

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To the east of St. George's Chapel, and separated from it by a passage, is the Albert Memorial Chapel. Built by Henry VII. as his burial-place but abandoned for a lordlier tomb at Westminster, this chapel was bestowed by Henry VIII. upon Cardinal Wolsey and was long known as the Wolsey Chapel or Wolsey's Tomb-House. The magnificent tomb prepared for himself by the Cardinal, but never occupied, was broken up during the Civil War, and nothing of it remains except the black and white marble sarcophagus now enclosing Nelson's coffin in St. Paul's. The performance of Mass here under James II. led to the wrecking of the chapel by an angry mob, and it remained unused until the time of George III., who rebuilt part of it in connection with his royal tombhouse. On the death of Prince Albert (1861) Queen Victoria caused the chapel to be converted into a splendid memorial for her husband, under the supervision of Sir G. G. Scott. Visitors are not admitted beyond the entrance. The interior is decorated in the most lavish manner and achieves an effect of sumptuous magnificence, which, however, does not seem wholly in keeping with its Gothic architecture. The walls are panelled with 'marble pictures' by Baron Triqueti, above which are white marble medallions of members of the royal family by Miss Durant; the roof is covered with mosaics by Salviati; the windows have stained glass by Clayton & Bell; the floor is inlaid with coloured marble. In front of the altar, with its elaborate reredos, is the Cenotaph of Prince Albert by Triqueti, with a white marble figure of the prince resting on a handsome sarcophagus. In the middle of the nave is the monument of the Duke of Clarence (died 1892), the elder son of Edward VII.; and near the west door is that of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (died 1884), the youngest son of Queen Victoria. To the north of the Albert Chapel are the Dean's Cloisters, built by Edward III., the south wall of which is a fragment of the old chapel of Henry III. Adjacent are the timber-work Canons' Cloisters, communicating with the Hundred Steps, and the Winchester Tower, said to have been occupied by Bishop William of Wykeham ('Hoc fecit Wykeham') and by Geoffrey Chaucer, who was Master of the Works at Windsor in 1390. To the south of the Canons' Cloisters are the Canons' Residences, in one of which Henry Hallam (1777-1859) was born. To the east is the Deanery (1500).