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Cloister, courtyard surrounded by vaulted and arcaded passageways supported by columns. Usually adjoining an abbey or church, the cloister served as a sheltered access to the surrounding buildings and was mainly used for recreation and exercise. An essential feature of Romanesque and Gothic churches and monasteries since the 11th century, cloisters are found throughout Europe.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Children's literature to Clumber spaniel