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Chancel

means a lattice-screen. In the Roman law courts the lawyers were cut off from the public by such a screen. (Latin, cancellus.)

Chancel of a church.
That part of a church which contains the altar, and the seats set apart for the choir. It is generally raised a step or more above the floor of the nave.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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