Definition of chantry in English:



  • 1An endowment founded for a priest or priests to celebrate masses for the soul of the founder.

    • ‘The leaders of society endowed chantry priests, who were permanently employed to say a daily mass for the soul of the chantry founder and his or her relations.’
    • ‘Gilds were connected with the impulse to found chantries to send up soul-prayers in the mass, the highest form of approach to God.’
    • ‘Well-endowed chantries were able to employ specific chantry priests, and to provide a chantry chapel, whether free standing or by screening off a section of a church aisle, where their duties could be performed.’
    • ‘The wealthy sometimes arranged for personal anniversary rites and chantry prayers to be conducted in perpetuity, while ordinary parishioners were remembered collectively on the feast of All Souls.’
    • ‘At the same time, a chantry was established, served by five priests, who soon afterwards assumed full control of the church.’
    1. 1.1 A chapel, altar, or other part of a church endowed by a chantry.
      • ‘His body rests in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, a small chantry chapel adjoining the north choir aisle and only completed in 1969.’
      • ‘The now ruined Spofforth Castle was the base he established in the area and would have had a chantry chapel for private family worship.’
      • ‘Large churches might have several chantries, cathedrals up to two dozen.’
      • ‘He made the astonishing gates and suite of door furniture for Edward IV's chantry at St George's Chapel, Windsor, between 1477 and 1484.’
      • ‘But the dissolution of the chantries, which included almost all non-educational collegiate churches, was even more destructive in this respect.’
      • ‘Wills often included arrangements for trustees to take income from property in order to build a chantry chapel and to make charitable gifts such as almshouses, schools, church buildings, and even bridges to the community.’
      • ‘Two candles were burning on the altar of the King's chantry throughout Margaret's funeral service.’
      • ‘The mid-16th century Reformation saw the Dissolution of the monasteries, the destruction of chantries and colleges, and the organised pillage of churches in the greatest act of privatisation England has ever seen.’
      • ‘They too had social selves, identities which ranged far outside church or chantry.’
      • ‘The village is named after St Wrw, whose remains are said to be buried in the chantry chapel in the churchyard.’
      • ‘But the Reformation of the 1530s with its dissolution of monasteries, abbeys and chantries would have made the school redundant.’
      • ‘The warehouse, which includes a watermill and a chantry chapel, won the grant under the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme.’
      • ‘A little Green Man on the high frieze of the fourteenth-century chantry chapel of Edward le Despenser, in Tewkesbury Abbey, faces the south choir aisle.’
      • ‘Although apparently the last of the churches built at Maldon, it became the principal church of the town; Robert Darcy established a chantry there.’
      • ‘An elaborate version, with four arches surmounted by an orb, is found on Henry V's chantry at Westminster Abbey, in fifteenth century English manuscripts, and on the pilgrim badges made for the putative saint, Henry VI.’
      • ‘Priests received a fee to celebrate a memorial mass in the chantry and further alms were given to those who attended the service.’
      • ‘Private devotion and preparation for death were the greatest stimuli to patronage as chantry chapels, founded for prayers for the dead, proliferated together with tombs and books for prayer and meditation.’
      • ‘Joseph Elianore obtained royal licence in 1338 to found a chantry there which during the 1340s he endowed with numerous lands and rents.’
      • ‘The Dissolution of Colleges Act suppressed thousands of chantries, and the Sacrament Act restored communion in both kinds.’
      • ‘At the same time, the chantries were dissolved.’


Late Middle English: from Old French chanterie, from chanter ‘to sing’.