The restoration of the chapels dedicated France, Provence and Anglo-Bavaria began in December 2013 and was completed in October 2014. These are were the final three chapels in St John’s Co-Cathedral to be restored. The chapels of France and Provence are those closest to the main altar on the north side of the church whilst the Anglo-Bavarian chapel is attached to the chapel of Provence.
The restoration of these chapels consisted of the cleaning of the domes and walls of dust, soot and wax deposits which settled over the years. Through the passage of time the chapels suffered extensive deterioration due to rain water filtering through the dome and the effects of rising damp. Through this restoration process the gilding and the intricate wall carvings have been cleaned and losses restored. The altar paintings depicting The Conversion of St Paul and St Michael the Archangel, the two lunette paintings within the chapel of France and one within the chapel of Provence were also restored.
Between 1663 and 1668 the knights of the French Langue held several meetings to discuss the re-decoration of their chapel which eventually led to its baroque modification. Documents note that the sculptors Domenico Gambin and Pietro Burlo were commissioned to carve the altar reredos, its columns, angels, coats-of-arms and steps. However, the current decorative state of the chapel is reflective of a nineteenth century intervention led by the Nazarene artist Giuseppe Hyzler when an attempt was made to simplify the baroque decoration.
The chapel of Provence was amongst the first to undergo a baroque style redecoration in circa 1646, thus setting a precedence which others were to follow. Amongst the benefactors of the chapel was the grand commander and prefect of the armoury Fra Jean Jacques de Verdelin whose request to defray all expenses was acceded to in 1661. His donation is celebrated by many carvings throughout the church but especially on the walls and dome of this chapel.
The chapel of the langue of Anglo-Bavaria occupies the site formerly known as the chapel of the Relics. The elaborately carved stone reredos was installed between 1595-1601, a gift from Fra Raymond de Veri prior of Majorca. In 1739 the altar dedicated to St Charles Borromeo was moved from its position in the atrium leading to the oratory to this chapel on the orders of the prior of the church at the time, Fra Bartolomeo Rull, hence the dedication of the chapel to St Charles. The English langue was again reinstated in 1785 by King George III and given this chapel for its devotion. The chapel is separated from the chapel of Provence by a rood screen.