The South Transept is lit by a large rose window, with glass dating from 1902. Beneath it, in the angles above the right and left arches, are two of the finest medieval carvings in the Abbey, depicting censing angels. In addition to the many monuments, there are two fine late thirteenth-century wall paintings, uncovered in 1936, to be seen by the door leading to St. Faith's Chapel. They depict Christ showing his wounds to Doubting Thomas, and St. Christopher. At one time the south wall supported the dorter staircase, used by monks going from their dormitory to the Choir for their night offices. No sign of the staircase exists but if you look inside St. Faith's chapel you will see the passage leading to the staircase.
One of the best known parts of Westminster Abbey, Poets' Corner can be found in the South Transept. It was not originally designated as the burial place of writers, playwrights and poets; the first poet to be buried here, Geoffrey Chaucer, was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey because he had been Clerk of Works to the palace of Westminster, not because he had written the Canterbury Tales.
Over 150 years later, during the flowering of English literature in the sixteenth century, a more magnificent tomb was erected to Chaucer by Nicholas Brigham and in 1599 Edmund Spenser was laid to rest nearby. These two tombs began a tradition which developed over succeeding centuries.
Burial or commemoration in the Abbey did not always occur at or soon after the time of death. Lord Byron, for example, whose lifestyle caused a scandal although his poetry was much admired, died in 1824 but was finally given a memorial only in 1969. Even Shakespeare, buried at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616, had to wait until 1740 before a monument, designed by William Kent, appeared in Poets' Corner.
Other poets and writers, well known in their day, have now vanished into obscurity, with only their monuments to show that they were once famous.
Conversely, many whose writings are still appreciated today have never been memorialised in Poets' Corner, although the reason may not always be clear.