Text size: AAA low graphics
Westminster Cathedral

The Lady Chapel






(click to view in detail)

The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus (known as 'Our Lady'), has a special place in the hearts of Catholics. Honoured for bearing the Son of God, we pray to her especially in this chapel.

The rich decoration of the chapel gives a glimpse of what the completed Cathedral will be. Here, on the Feast of St Joseph in 1903, the first Mass was said in Westminster Cathedral. In the Lady Chapel the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church is celebrated daily.

Above the altar is an image of the Virgin and the child Jesus. In the centre is the Tree of Life (the Cross) symbolising not death but eternal life. From it gush fountains of living water, and its branches produce vines, the refuge for birds and other living creatures.

To the left of the Tree stands Mary, portrayed as Patroness of London, in front of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Next to her is Gabriel, archangel of the Annunciation, and a group of saints renowned for their devotion to the Virgin Mary. To the right of the Tree is St Peter, Patron of Westminster, in front of Westminster Cathedral. Beside him is the archangel Michael, and a medallion of King David.

The domed vault is marked with a wreath, containing portraits of the first four Cardinals of Westminster. Above these scenes, angels hold a garland, representing the Rosary. The tops of the window recesses bear portraits of early women martyrs: St Lucy, St Agatha, St Justine, St Cecilia and St Catherine.  In the four alcoves set into the marble are represented four prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah: Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah.

The arch at the entrance to the chapel has a Latin inscription recalling the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady: Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te. (Thou art all fair, O Mary, and the original stain of sin is not in thee.)