Glossary of Terms

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 AISLE that part of the church which is parallel to the nave and divided from it by an arcade. BALUSTER a small pillar or column, often of ornate outline, used in supporting handrails, etc.
 AMBULATORY semi-circular or polygonal aisle enclosing an apse, round which it is possible to walk. BALUSTRADE a series of balusters forming a handrail or coping.
APSE vaulted semi-circular or polygonal end of a chancel or chapel.  An apse was the commonest way of terminating the east end of  a Norman nave or transept. BARREL ROOF continuous round-arched vault.
ARCADE a range of arches supported on piers or columns, usually free-standing, but if attached to a wall is a BLIND-ARCADE BATTLEMENT a parapet with a series of indentations, or crenellations, atop a wall, originally for the purposes of defence, but latterly ornamental.
ARCH a pointed or rounded top to an opening in a wall, for a window, door, or as part of an arcade. There are four types of arch: Norman, Pointed, Tudor and Ogee. BELL-COTE turret usually on the west end of a church to carry a small number of bells.
AUMBRY Recess or cupboard, usually in the chancel, to hold sacred vessels for Mass or Communion. BOX-PEW a pew with a high wooden enclosure.
CAMPANILE an isolated bell tower DEC. or DECORATED the historical division of English Gothic architecture covering the first half of the 14th century, characterised by elaborate window tracery and naturalistic carving c 1250-1350
CANOPY ornamental covering above an altar, pulpit, niche, etc. DOOM painting of the Last Judgement often depicted on mediaeval walls, usually over the chancel arch.
CAPITAL head of a pillar or column. DORMER (WINDOW) a window placed in the sloping roof, over which itself has a small roof over.
CHANCEL that part of the east end of a church in which the altar is placed, a term usually applied to the whole of a church east of the nave or the crossing.
CHANCEL ARCH the arch at the west end of the chancel.
CHANTRY (CHAPEL) a chapel attached to, or inside, a church, which was endowed by people for the saying of Masses for the soul of the deceased, often the founder of the church in question.
CLASSICAL used as the term applying to Greek and Roman architecture, and to any subsequent styles copying it.
CLERESTORY the upper storey of the nave walls, usually pierced by windows.
COADE STONE artificial, i.e., cast, stone made by Coade and Seely in London in the late 18th and the early 19th centuries.
COLONNADE a range of columns
COPING capping or covering to a wall.
CORBEL a block of stone projecting from a wall which acts as a support for some horizontal feature, or for the vertical supports of a timbered roof.
CORBEL TABLE a series of corbels, ocurring just below the eaves of a roof, either externally or internally, often seen in Norman building work. (See Kilpeck, Herefs.)
CROCKET small decorative leafy sculpture mainly used on the outer curve of arches in the 13th and 14th centuries
CROSSING the space at the intersection of the nave, chancel and transepts, often surmounted by a tower.
CRUCIFORM church plan in the shape of a cross.
CRYPT underground room, often, but not always, beneath the east end of a church.
CUPOLA a small, usually square or circular, domed turret surmounting the roof, usually containing a clock and/or a bell.
E. E. or EARLY ENGLISH  First phase of Gothic architecture dominant after Norman, characterised by the earliest pointed arches and simple lancet windows c1190-1250 FAIENCE decorated and glazed earthenware.
EASTER SEPULCHRE a recess with a tomb-chest, usually in the wall of a church.  The tomb-chest received an effigy of Christ during the Easter celebrations. FILLET narrow flat band running down a shaft or along a roll moulding.
EAVES the underneath of the overhanging part of a roof. FINIAL in Gothic architecture the end of a pinnacle, gable or bench-end which often is carved of otherwise formed into a a leaf or leaf-like form, sometimes also into animals or other mythical features.
EPITAPH an inscription on a gravestone or hanging wall monument
ESCUTCHEON a shield for armorial bearings.
GALLERY in church architecture, the upper storey above an aisle, sometimes opened in arches to the nave.  HATCHMENTS diamond shaped boards bearing a coat of arms of a deceased person
GALLERY as a church fitting, an upper floor to part of a church or chapel, usually at the west end or along the north or south walls, and usually supported on columns, which was used as additional seating, and/or to provide space for the quire and/or the organ.
GOTHIC architecture which flourished from about the late 12th century until the English Reformation in 1540, characterised by the pointed arch.
GOTHIC REVIVAL rediscovery by the Victorians of mediaeval Gothic style
GOTHICK 18th century fashion based upon a fanciful interpretation of mediaeval Gothic
GRISAILLE a term applied to glass, describing the often grey or grey-like pattern (not pictorial) associated with Cistercian requirements.
LANCET Narrow pointed window of the Early English period
OGEE RECUMBENT S-shaped curve forming arches and gables, a hallmark of the late Decorated period PEDIMENT
PERPENDICULAR Final phase of Gothic architecture, characterised by large windows, flattened arches, impressive towers and fan vaulting c1350-1540
PEW RENTING See under West Grinstead, Sussex.
PISCINA recess with basin and drain for washing the sacred vessels
REREDOS wall or screen behind the altar, usually ornamented with painting or carving
RIB projecting feature of a vault which is sometimes ornamental, sometimes structural
ROOD cross or crucifix placed between the chancel and nave. A rood screen separates the two parts of a church and is often painted or carved
ROYAL ARMS arms of the monarch usually painted on wood or canvas which became compulsory in churches after the Reformation
SANCTUARY most sacred part of the chapel, around the altar TESTER also called a sounding board. Structure over a pulpit to direct sound forward
SEDILIA recessed seats in the south wall of the chancel for the priest, deacon and sub-deacon TRACERY ornamental stone ribs in the upper parts of windows and in circular windows; stone ceiling formed like arches.
STRING COURSE a horizontal band of projecting stonework on the surface of a wall TYMPANUM space between the lintel and arch of a doorway or opening
Vault Stone


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