This area should strictly be called the Great Cloister, to distinguish it from the smaller cloister which stood close to the Infirmary. The English word cloister is derived from Latin claustrum, or "enclosure".
The relative location of cloisters and cathedral depended on local geography and features. Placing the cloisters to the north of the cathedral, as is the case at Canterbury, is fairly uncommon, although similar arrangements are found at Chester, Gloucester and Bury St Edmunds.
Cloisters were roughly square in shape. The four sides are sometimes known as 'walks'. At Canterbury the use of Caen stone and Reigate stone can be seen in the south walk - this wall corresponds to the north wall of the cathedral building.
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