The Chapter House is one of York Minster’s architectural gems and its vaulted roof is the earliest example of its kind to use a revolutionary engineering technique.
The octagonal space was built between over around 20 years from the 1260s to 1280s and its magnificent, vaulted ceiling is supported by timbers in the roof, instead of by a central column, which was a revolutionary approach at the time.
In 1297 the Chapter House was used as the location for the Parliament of King Edward I and the space is still used today for the College of Canons meetings and for part of the installation of new Canons. The 44 seats which run around its walls are arranged in groups of six, so each canon has an equal voice during the meetings.
The Chapter House’s walls contain some of the Minster's finest carvings, most dating from 1270 to 1280s. They include characters you might not expect to see within a building of this importance, from a lowly mouse, cats and dogs to a jester, and several characters pulling funny faces.