Chapel, a term originally applied to private oratories, derived from the practice of the ancient kings of France of carrying along with them on the battle field St. Martin's hat as a relic, the place in which it was kept being called capella, and the priest in charge of it capel-hirhis. The famous sainte chapelle du palais in Paris was built by St. Louis, and consisted of an upper and lower chapel, which latter is in course of restoration. It suffered much during the revolution, and its relics are in Notre Dame. In the latter cathedral is the celebrated chapelle du damne, deriving its name from the legend that Raymond Diocres, a friend of St. Bruno, returned to life during his funeral, and exclaimed that he was damned, which led to the saint's retirement to a cloister, and furnished the theme for Lesueur's celebrated painting. In the church of St. Victor at Marseilles there was a subterranean chapel, which women durst not enter because, according to a legend, a queen was punished with the loss of her sight for having entered it; and there are a number of chapels in Rome inaccessible to women except at the risk of excommunication.
The music of the chapels of Louis XIV. and other French sovereigns was remarkable for its beauty, and the term chapelmaster is hence often applied on the continent to leaders of orchestras. Chapelles ardentes were laid out with great splendor for the celebration of the funerals of French sovereigns, and date from the earliest Christian ages. One of the most magnificent of the kind was that built for receiving the ashes of Napoleon I. when they were brought in 1840 to Paris from St. Helena. There are at this day five categories of chapels in France: simples or communales, vicariate de secours, domestiques, and those inside of churches. In Pome, besides the renowned Sis-tine chapel, there is that of San Andrea della Valle, which is said to have been built on the spot of St. Sebastian's martyrdom. The chapel dedicated to St. Clement is associated with a legend that it was built by angels, and suddenly appeared on the spot, from which the sea had just retreated, upon the drowning of the saint by order of Trajan. In England, at the present day, dissenting places of worship are generally called chapels, and there are parochial chapels distinct from the parish church; while on the continent of Europe Anglican churches, being generally small, are designated as chapels.
Chapels of ease exist in large English parishes for the accommodation of neighboring worshippers; and there are private chapels in many residences of noble families in England, as well as at many foreign legations in various countries. In Roman Catholic churches chapels are often set aside and dedicated to services in honor of particular saints. The knights of the chapel, or poor knights of Windsor, were designated in the will of Henry VIII. for attending royal funerals. Their number has been increased from 13 to 26. They are under the authority of the canons of Windsor, and receive pensions from the order of the garter. They wear the arms of St. George and a red or blue cloak. - The famous chapels of Italy and other countries are mentioned in the articles upon the respective localities to which they belong.