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Cloister

(Lat. claustrum, “clergy-house, closed-off place”). The verbal concept “to cloister” referred originally to any enclosure, but it came in practice to apply to monasticism in fourteenth-century England, when “cloister” and “convent” had become parallel terms, one stressing the seclusion from other life, the other the communal character of those secluded. In the derived sense, meaning is transferred from the religious process to the space in which provision is made for that process to take place. By the fifteenth century the concept identified the covered walkway connecting the buildings of the institution, often forming a quadrangular perimeter with an open colonnade toward the inner court.