A fan vault is a form of vault used in the Perpendicular Gothic style, in which the ribs are all of the same curve and spaced equidistantly, in a manner resembling a fan. The initiation and propagation of this design element is strongly associated with England.
The earliest example, dating from about the year 1351, may be seen in the south walk of the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral, built by Thomas of Cambridge. In the fourteenth century the structure was known as the Abbey Church at Gloucester. A fine later example, from 1640, is the vault over the staircase at Christ Church, Oxford. The largest fan vault in the world, however, can be found in the chapel of King's College, Cambridge.
Birth of the fan vault
The fan vault is attributed to development in Gloucester
in the mid 14th century, with the earliest known surviving example being the east cloister walk of the Gloucester Cathedral
. Other examples of early fan vaults exist in Gloucester
. implying the activity of several 14th century master masons in this region, who really created the fan vault and experimented with forms of its early use.
List of buildings with fan vaulting
- King's College Chapel, Cambridge, England, circa 1500, the world's largest fan vaulted structure
- Peterborough Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, England, eastern apse of the Norman tower, circa 1500
- Henry VII's Lady chapel, Westminster Abbey, London, England, 1503-1519
- Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, England
- Bath Abbey, Somerset, England, 1860s nave restoration feature of fan vaulting
- Dean's Chapel, Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, England.