When St. Martin divided his military cloak (cappa) and gave half to the beggar at the gate of Amiens, he wrapped the other half round his shoulders, thus making of it a cape (capella). This cape, or its representative, was afterwards preserved as a relic and accompanied the Frankish kings in their wars, and the tent which sheltered it became known also as cappella or capella. In this tent Mass was celebrated by the military chaplains (capellani). When at rest in the palace the relic likewise gave its name to the oratory where it was kept, and subsequently any oratory where Mass and Divine service were celebrated was called capella, chapelle, chapel.
Submitted in section: Religion & Spirituality: Christianity: Denominations: Catholicism: Reference: Catholic Encyclopedia: C: Chapel