see caption
Shaded area is the transept; the darker shaded area at the centre is known as the crossing
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The transept is the part of a Christian church crossing the area between the naveCentral part of a church, used by the laiety. and the chancelPart of a church containing the altar, used by the officiating clergy. at right angles, forming a characteristic cruciform shape. Trransepts began to be introduced into Western church architecture in about the 5th century, and often provided space for additional chapels.[1] As the altar is usually at the eastern end of a Christian church, the transept extends to the north and south.[2]

The term is also used more generally to describe any significant part of a building lying at right angles across the structure’s main axis.[3]



Clarke, Michael. “Transept.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, Online, Oxford University Press, 2010,
Curl, James Stevens, and Susan Wilson. “Transept.” Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Online, Oxford University Press, 2015,
Jones, Tom Devonshire, et al., editors. “Transept.” Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture, Online, Oxford University Press,