Chantry (French chanterie, from chanter, to sing; Medieval Latin cantuaria), a small chapel built out from a church, endowed in pre-Reformation times for the express purpose of maintaining priests for the chanting of masses for the soul of the founder or of some one named by him. It generally contained the tomb of the founder, and, as the officiator or mass-priest was often unconnected with the parochial clergy, had an entrance from the outside. The word passed through graduations of meaning. Its first sense was singing or chanting. Then it meant the endowment funds, next the priests, and then the church or chapel itself.

Being the entry for CHANTRY in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

Chant"ry (?), n.; pl. Chantries (#). [OF. chanterie, fr. chanter to sing.]

1.

An endowment or foundation for the chanting of masses and offering of prayers, commonly for the founder.

2.

A chapel or altar so endowed.

Cowell.

 

© Webster 1913.

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