Glossary of Architectural / Ecclesiastical Terms
Altar - raised structure with a flat top on
which the Eucharist is celebrated.
Battlement parapet with a series of
embrasures (indentations) and merlons (raised portions) between. Also
called Crenellation. <back>
Bench seating in the nave for use of the
congregation. Colloquially, but erroneously, called pews.
Canons clergy in a secular (non-monastic)
cathedral or collegiate church.
Chancel - the eastern part of the church in
which the altar is placed.
Chancel arch - arch at the juncture of chancel
and nave. <back>
Corbel - a projection from the wall to carry
weight not intended to rest directly upon the wall itself.
Cusp spear shaped ornament, usually
pierced. In tracery, the small pointed part between two lobes of a
trefoil, quatrefoil, etc.
Embattled with a
Font - basin for baptismal water.
Hagioscope also known as a squint. An
oblique opening in a wall to enable persons in the transepts to see the
Lancet window slender pointed-arched
Lights vertical sections of a window or
bell opening separated by mullions.
Mullion vertical division in a window.
Nave - the main body of the church.
Parapet - low protective wall, often decorated
with tracery or embattled. Often seen around the roof or tower.
- the highest official in a cathedral or collegiate
- a raised, enclosed platform from which
the preacher delivers a sermon. Originally, sermons were delivered from
in front of the altar or in the churchyard. By the start of the 17th
century, each church had to have a pulpit by law.
Quatrefoil four-leafed decoration in pierced or blind
Reredos - structure behind and above the altar.
Rood a cross or crucifix.
Rood beam - a beam across the arch leading to the choir in the
Rood loft singing gallery on top of the rood screen.
Rood screen - a carved wooden or stone
screen dividing the choir from the nave.
Rood stairs staircase giving access to the
rood loft. <back>
- a sundial 'scratched' into the
south wall either to tell the time or to indicate times of service.
- pierced and decorated ornamental
stonework often in the space above window lights or in parapets, etc.
- the projecting arms of a church
built in the form of a cross.
Tympanum a lath and plaster or boarded
partition to fill the space between the chancel arch and the rood or
chancel screen. <back>
Vestry a room where vestments and records
are kept. <back>
Wagon roof roof where the appearance of the
cloth tilt over a wagon is achieved with close set rafters and arched
braces. Commonly found throughout south Somerset uncovered, panelled or
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