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Ambulatory is a general term for a covered walkway such as a cloisterCovered walkway usually set out in the form of a square., and more specifically for the walkway linking the two chancelPart of a church containing the altar, used by the officiating clergy. aisles behind the high altar in a Christian church.[1]

The feature originated in France as a processional passage around a shrine accommodated within a crypt, as seen at Chartres Cathedral, and was subsequently widely adopted in the design of Romanesque churches.[2]

The term ambulatory derives from the Latin ambulatorium, meaning a place to walk, especially a covered one.[3]



Clarke, Michael. “Ambulatory.” Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, Online, Oxford University Press, 2010,
OED. “Ambulatory, n.” Oxford English Dictionary, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2021,
Quiney, Anthony. “Ambulatory.” Oxford Companion to Archicture, edited by Patrick Goode, Oxford University Press, 2009,