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Ambulatory

A cloister, gallery, or alley; a sheltered place, straight or circular, for exercise in walking; the aisle that makes the circuit of the apse of a church. The central eastern apse of a church was often encircled by a semicircular aisle, called the ambulatory. Of these ambulatories there are three species:

* the ambulatory with tangential chapels; * the ambulatory without chapels; * variants of the above.

By far the most common type is that in which the chapels radiate tot he north-east, east, and south-east. An ambulatory without radiating chapels is so rare in Romanesque work that supposed examples should be regarded as doubtful. Sometimes there is a rectangular ambulatory, as in the Romsey eastern chapel. Ambulatories are constructed either on the inside or outside of a building, or in a public thoroughfare wholly or partially under cover, or entirely open to the sky, and are used only to walk in. The term is sometimes applied to a covered way round a building, such as the space between the columns and cella of a peripteral temple, or around an open space as the cloisters of a monastic church, as the Campo Santo at Pisa, or the atrium of an ancient basilica, e. g. that of St. Ambrose at Milan. the term can be used as an equivalent of either cloister or atrium.

THOMAS H. POOLE Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by New Advent, Inc., P.O. Box 281096, Denver, Colorado, USA, 80228. (knight@knight.org) Taken from the New Advent Web Page (www.knight.org/advent).

This article is part of the Catholic Encyclopedia Project, an effort aimed at placing the entire Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition on the World Wide Web. The coordinator is Kevin Knight, editor of the New Advent Catholic Website. If you would like to contribute to this worthwhile project, you can contact him by e- mail at (knight.org/advent).


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You are here: Art & Architecture > Architecture Features > Ambulatory  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com