The College of the Vicars Choral in the late 19th century

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The College of the Vicars Choral in the late 19th century

The college was built in 1383-88 to house the Vicars Choral, the junior clergy who sang the cathedral's many daily services. It consisted of two rows of lodgings facing each other across a narrow courtyard, with their eating hall on South Street and a gatehouse at its east end.

This painting by George Townsend records the appearance of the northern row of lodgings in the years c. 1850-93. Each originally consisted of one ground-floor and one first-floor room, but extra rooms were later contrived in the attics. To the left of the view is a tall window of the college hall. By this time the facing lodgings on the south side had been demolished. Only the ruin of the hall survives today.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum