CHAPEL. In the printing trade, the name of the fellowship of compositors (and, nowadays, of all crafts) in a printing works. The president is termed the "father of the chapel." In the United States he is called "the chairman." The name chapel is used not only of the fellowship itself but of the meetings which it holds. At these meetings, the chapel discusses such things as the general welfare of the body, the conditions of work, relations with em ployers, and trade union matters.
The accepted version of the origin of the use of the word chapel in this connection is that it is derived from the fact that Caxton first set up his press in or near Westminster Abbey. Writing in 1716, Myles Davies, in his Athenae Britannicae says, "William Caxton first practis'd Printing in the Abbey of Westminster, A.D. 1471, thence a Printing-Room came to be call'd a Chappell amongst our Printers." Another explanation is offered by Joseph Moxon, who in his Mechanick Exercises (1683) says, "Every Printing-house is by the Custom of Time out of mind, called a Chappel: and all the Workmen that belong to it are Members of the Chappel: and the oldest Freeman is Father of the Chappel. I suppose this stile was originally conferred upon it by the cour tesie of some great Churchman, or men (doubtless when Chappels were in more veneration than of late years they have been here in England), who for the Books of Divinity that proceeded from a Printing-house gave it the Reverend Title of Chappel."