Abacus—The uppermost member of a capital.
Acanthus—A plant represented in classical ornament, used particularly in the Corinthian and Composite Orders.
Achievement—In heraldry, the shield accompanied by the appropriate
external ornaments, helm, crest, mantling, supporters, etc. In the
plural the term is also applied to the insignia of honour carried at
the funerals and suspended over the monuments of important
personages, comprising helmet and crest, shield, tabard, sword,
gauntlets and spurs, banners and pennons.
Acroteria—In classical architecture, blocks on the apex and lower
ends of a pediment, often carved with honeysuckle or palmette
Abdicule—A small temple or shrine, or a miniature representation
of the same.
Agger—The earthen ridge carrying a Roman road.
Altar—The name used in the Inventory to distinguish pre-reformation
stone altars from post-reformation Communion Tables of wood.
Altar-Tomb—A modern term for a tomb of stone or marble resembling, but not used as, an altar. See also Table-Tomb.
Antefixes—In classical architecture, small ornamental blocks fixed at
intervals along the lower edge of a roof to conceal the ends of the
Anthemion—Honeysuckle or palmette ornament in classical architecture.
Apron—A plain or decorated panel below a window, or at the base
of a wall-monument.
Apse—The semicircular or polygonal end of a chancel or chapel.
Arabesque—Decoration, in colour or low relief, with fanciful intertwining of leaves, scroll-work, etc.
Arcade—A range of arches carried on piers or columns. Blind arcade,
a series of arches, sometimes interlaced, carried on shafts or
pilasters against a solid wall.
Arch—The following are some of the most usual forms:
Equilateral—A pointed arch struck with radii equal to the span.
Flat or straight—Having the soffit horizontal.
Four-centred—A pointed arch of four arcs, the two outer and lower
arcs struck from centres on the springing line and the two inner
and upper arcs from centres below the springing line. For want
of a better expression the term is also used of pointed door-heads,
etc., in which the upper arcs are replaced by straight lines, the
centres then being at infinity.
Lancet—A pointed arch, struck at the level of the springing, with
radii greater than the span.
Nodding—An ogee arch curving also forward from the plane of the
Ogee—A pointed arch of four or more arcs, the two uppermost
being reversed, i.e., convex instead of concave to the base line.
Pointed or two-centred—Two arcs struck from centres on the springing
line, and meeting at the apex with a point.
Relieving—An arch, generally of rough construction, placed in the
wall above the true arch or head of an opening, to relieve it of
the superincumbent weight.
Segmental—A single are struck from a centre below the springing
Segmental-pointed—A pointed arch, struck from two centres below
the springing line.
Skew—An arch spanning between responds not diametrically
opposite one another.
Stilted—An arch with its springing line raised above the level of the
Three-centred, elliptical—Formed with three arcs, the middle or
uppermost struck from a centre below the springing line.
Architrave—The lowest member of an entablature (q.v.); often
adapted as a moulded enrichment to the jambs and head of a doorway or window-opening.
Arris—The sharp edge formed by the meeting of two surfaces.
Ashlar—Masonry wrought to an even face and with square edges.
Assarting—The grubbing up of trees and bushes from forest land,
to make it arable.
Aumbry—Wall-cupboard, usually for sacred vessels in a church.
Bagshot Beds—A Tertiary geological formation consisting mainly of
sands and grits with seams of clay.
Bailey—The courtyard of a castle.
Ball-Flower—In architecture, a decoration, peculiar to the first
quarter of the 14th century, consisting of a globular flower of
three petals enclosing a small ball.
Baluster—A vertical support to a handrail or parapet coping, usually
turned, with a vase-shaped or column-shaped profile.
Barge-board—A board, often carved, fixed to the edge of a gabled
roof a short distance from the face of the wall.
Barrow—A burial mound. Long barrow: an elongated burial mound
of the Neolithic period. Bank barrow: a long barrow of exceptional length, resembling a length of bank. Round barrow: a burial
mound, circular in plan, usually of the Bronze Age. For explanation of different types of round barrow see Dorset II, p. 422.
Bastion—A projection from the general outline of a fortress, from
which the garrison is able to see, and defend by a flanking fire,
the ground before the ramparts.
Bays—The main vertical divisions of the façade of a building; the
archways of an arcade or the intercolumniations of a colonnade;
also the divisions of a roof, marked by its principals (q.v.) which
usually correspond with the bays of the façade, etc., below it.
Beading—A small rounded moulding.
Beaker—A pottery vessel or jar, characteristic of a culture introduced
into Britain towards the end of the Neolithic period; hence
Beaker culture or Beaker people. Bell beaker or 'B' beaker: the type
of British beaker which most closely resembles widespread continental prototypes and which first appears here soon after 2000 B.C.
Long-necked or 'A' beaker: an insular development first appearing
c. 1800 B.C.
Berm—In earthworks, a ledge between a bank and its accompanying
ditch or scarp.
Biconical Urn—A pottery vessel of the Middle Bronze Age, roughly
biconical in outline, which in Dorset appears to be derived from
Cornish biconical urns of the Early Bronze Age.
Billet—In architecture, an ornament used in the 11th and 12th
centuries, consisting of short attached cylinders or rectangles with
intervening spaces. In heraldry, a small upright oblong charge.
Bolection-moulding—A bold moulding raised above the general
plane of the framework of a doorway, fireplace or panelling.
Boss—A square or round projecting ornament, often covering the
intersections of the ribs in a vault, panelled ceiling, roof, etc.
Brace—In roof construction, a subsidiary timber designed to strengthen
the framing of a truss. Wind-brace: a subsidiary timber between
the purlins and principals of a roof, designed to resist the pressure
of the wind.
Bracket—A projecting flat-topped support, usually decorated on the
underside; also, in open-string stairs, the spandrel or exposed
triangular end of a step.
Brattishing—Ornamental cresting on the top of a screen, cornice, etc.
Bressummer—A beam supporting an upper wall.
Brick-work—The following terms are used:
Header—A brick laid so that the end appears on the face of the wall.
Stretcher—A brick laid so that the long side appears on the face of
English Bond—A method of laying bricks so that alternate courses
on the face of the wall are composed of headers and stretchers.
Flemish Bond—A method of laying bricks so that alternate headers
and stretchers appear in each course on the face of the wall.
Broach-stop—A half-pyramidal stop against a chamfer, effecting the
change from chamfer to arris.
Bronze Age—The period which in Britain is divided and dated roughly
as follows: Early Bronze Age, 1650 to 1350 B.C.; Middle Bronze
Age, 1350 to 800 B.C.; Late Bronze Age, 800 to 600 B.C.
Bucket Urn—A pottery vessel of the Middle to Late Bronze Age
with sides tapering downwards and often incurving at the top.
The true bucket shape, with straight sides, is rare.
Buttress—Masonry or brickwork projecting from, or built against a
wall to give additional strength.
Angle-buttresses—Two meeting, or nearly meeting, at an angle of
90° at the corner of a building.
Clasping-buttress—One that clasps or encases an angle.
Diagonal-buttress—One placed against the right-angle formed by
two walls, and more or less equiangular with both.
Flying-buttress—An arch or half-arch transmitting the thrust of a
vault or roof from the upper part of a wall to an outer support.
Cable-moulding—A moulding carved in the form of a rope or cable.
Canons—The metal loops by which a bell is hung.
Canopy—A projection or hood over a door, window, etc., and the
covering over a tomb or niche.
Carton-pierre—A patent composition cast in moulds to form fine
decorative details for application to the surfaces of joinery, thus
simulating carved woodwork; the process was introduced into
Britain by Robert Adam, c. 1780.
Cartouche—In Renaissance ornament, a tablet, often imitating a
scroll with partly rolled borders, used ornamentally or bearing an
inscription or a shield-of-arms.
Caryatid—Sculptured figure used as a column or support.
Casement Moulding—A wide and deep hollow moulding on the
jambs and head of a window or doorway; usually characteristic
of the 15th or 16th century.
Casement Window—One closed with a hinged lattice.
Castor Ware—A colour-coated ware made in potteries near Castor,
Northants, and elsewhere from the late 2nd century A.D.
Causewayed Camp—A Neolithic enclosure bounded by a bank or
banks, each with an external ditch interrupted at intervals by
'causeways' or lengths of undisturbed ground.
'Celtic' Fields—Small, rectangular fields, usually bounded by
lynchets, originating in the Bronze Age, but widespread in
Romano-British times, especially in the south of England.
Chaînage—Bricks of contrasting colour bonded into a brick façade
to form decorative vertical bands. As bonding requires the use of
headers and stretchers in alternate courses the feature resembles
Chalcolithic—That period which in Britain is characterised by the
first use of copper tools in a predominantly stone-age society,
roughly 1800 to 1650 B.C.
Chalice—The name used in the Inventory to distinguish the prereformation type of communion cup with a small shallow bowl
from the post-reformation cup with a larger and deeper bowl.
Chamfer—The small plane formed when an arris of stone or wood is
cut away, usually at an angle of 45°. When the plane is concave
it is termed a hollow chamfer.
Chantry—A foundation, usually supporting a priest, for the celebration of mass for the soul of the founder and of such others as he
Charge—In heraldry, the representation of an object or device upon
Chevaux-de-frise—Iron spikes, originally set in timber to repel
cavalry, now usually along the tops of walls to protect property.
Chevron—In heraldry, a charge resembling an inverted V. In architecture, a decorative form similar to the heraldic chevron and
often used in a consecutive series.
Chip-carving—Simple geometrical patterns gouged on the surface of
joinery; the work is characteristic of the 17th century.
Cist—A small burial chamber lined with stones or cut in natural subsoil, above or below ground level; it has no entrance.
Clearstorey—In a church that has colonnades, an upper storey with
windows rising above the aisle roof. The term is applicable in
Close—Enclosure. In earthworks, an area enclosed by banks.
Clunch—Hard stratum of the Lower Chalk used for building and
Coffers—Sunk panels in ceilings, vaults, domes and arch-soffits.
Collar-beam—In a roof, a horizontal beam framed to and serving to
tie together a pair of rafters, some distance above wall-plate level.
Collared Urn—A type of pottery vessel with a deep rim, frequently
found in association with cremation burials; it first appears in the
Early Bronze Age (c. 1550 B.C.) and is largely a development of
late Neolithic (Fengate) pottery.
Console—A bracket with a compound curved outline.
Corallian Limestone—An oolitic limestone of the Upper Jurassic
system, often containing much cominuted shell.
Corbel—A projecting stone or piece of timber for the support of a
superincumbent feature. Corbel-table—A row of corbels, usually
Cornbrash—In geology, a calcareous formation of the Middle Jurassic
system consisting of a rubbly ferruginous limestone and clayey
Cornice—A crowning projection. In classical architecture, the
crowning portion of the entablature.
Counterscarp—The outer face or slope of the ditch of a fortification.
Counterscarp bank—a small bank immediately beyond the counterscarp of a hill-fort or defensive work.
Cove—A concave moulding at the junction of wall and ceiling, or
masking the eaves of a roof.
Cover-paten—A cover to a communion cup, used as a paten when
Crenelles—The openings in an embattled parapet.
Crockets—Carvings projecting at regular intervals from the sloping
sides of spires, canopies, hood-moulds, etc.
Crop-mark—A trace of a buried feature revealed by differential
growth of crops, best seen from the air.
Cross—In heraldry, a pale combined with a fesse, as St. George's
Cross. Of many varieties the following are the most common:
Crosslet—with a smaller arm crossing each main arm; Fitchy—
having the lowest arm spiked or pointed; Flowered or Flory—
having the arms headed with fleurs-de-lis; Formy—having arms
widening from the centre, and square at the ends; Moline (or
mill-rind)—with the arms split or forked at the ends; Paty—as a
cross formy, but with the arms notched in two places at the ends,
giving them something of the form of a fleur-de-lis; Pommy—
with the arms ending in balls; Potent—having a small transverse
arm at the extreme end of each main arm; Quadrate—with a
small rectangular projection at each angle as though the crossing
was surcharged with a square; Saltire (or St. Andrew's)—an
X-shaped cross; Tau (or Anthony)—in the form of a T; Trefly—
with the arms terminating in trefoils.
Cross-ridge Dyke—A bank and ditch, or sometimes a ditch between
two banks, crossing a ridge or a spur of high ground.
Cruck Truss—See Roofs.
Curtain—The connecting wall between the towers or bastions of a
Cushion capital—A capital cut from a cube, with its lower angles
rounded off to adapt it to a circular shaft.
Cusps—The projecting points forming the foils in Gothic windows,
arches, panels, etc.; they are sometimes ornamented at the ends
(cusp-points) with leaves, flowers, berries, etc. Sub-cusps—cusps
within the foils formed by larger cusping.
Cyma—A moulding with an S-shaped profile consisting of two
Dado—The protective or decorative treatment applied to the lower
part of a wall-surface to a height, normally, of 3 to 4 feet. Dadorail—the moulding or capping at the top of the dado.
Dentils—Small rectangular tooth-like blocks used decoratively in
Diaper—All-over decoration of surfaces with reticulate and other
Die—The part of a pedestal between its base and its cornice.
Dip-slope—Land surface developed on dipping strata; the rear slope
of an escarpment.
Dog-Tooth Ornament—A typical 13th-century carved ornament
consisting of a series of pyramidal flowers of four petals; used to
cover hollow mouldings.
Dormer—A sleeping recess contrived as a projection from the slope
of a roof and having a roof of its own; it usually is unlighted, but
occasionally it has small lights in the cheeks.
Dormer-window—A vertical window projecting from the slope of a
roof, and having a roof of its own, as in a dormer.
Dorter—A monastic dormitory.
Double Lynchet Track—A trackway running through fields on a
slope and defined on either side by their lynchets; frequently
associated with 'Celtic' fields.
Dressings—The stone or brickwork used about an angle, window, or
other feature, when worked to a finished face, whether smooth,
tooled or rubbed, moulded, or sculptured.
Eared (or Lugged) Architrave—Enrichment of an opening wherein
the horizontal mouldings of the head continue beyond the sides
of the vertical mouldings of the jambs and are returned to form a
Easter Sepulchre—Aedicule or recess, usually on the N. side of the
chancel, in which the sacrament, chalices and reliquaries were
enshrined during the three days before Easter, in commemoration
of Christ's entombment.
Embattled—In architrecture, a parapet with an indented outline, comprising merlons separated by crenelles, is said to be embattled.
Embrasures—The recesses for windows, doorways, etc.
Entablature—In classical architecture, the moulded horizontal capping
of a wall, colonnade or opening. A full entablature consists of
architrave, frieze and cornice.
Entasis—The convexity or swelling in the shaft of a classical column
or pilaster, designed to correct the optical illusion of concavity
when the sides are straight.
Fascia—A plain or moulded facing board.
Fielded Panel—A panel, usually of woodwork, with recessed and
Finial—An ornament at the top of a pinnacle, gable, canopy, etc.
Fluting—Ornament consisting of narrow concave striations, the
reverse of reeding.
Foil (trefoil, quatrefoil, cinquefoil, multifoil, etc.)—A leaf-shaped space
defined by the curve of the cusping in an opening or panel.
Foliate (of a capital, corbel, etc.)—Carved with leaf ornament.
Forest Marble—A Middle Jurassic geological formation comprising
a hard flaggy oolitic limestone alternating with bands of shaley
clay or marl.
Four-centred Arch—See Arch.
Frater—The refectory or dining-hall of a monastery.
Frieze—The middle division in an entablature, between the architrave
and the cornice; generally any band of ornament or colour
below a cornice.
Furlong—An area of the Open Fields (q.v.) containing a number of
adjacent strips extending in the same direction.
Gable—The wall at the end of a ridged roof, generally triangular,
sometimes semicircular, or with an outline of various curves, then
called curvilinear or Dutch. A stepped gable has an outline formed
of a series of steps.
Gadroon Ornament—A series of convexities and/or concavities
forming the edge of a prominent moulding in stone, wood or
Garb—In heraldry, a sheaf, usually of wheat.
Garderobe—Wardrobe. Antiquarian usage applies the word to a
Gargoyle—A carved projecting figure pierced or channelled to carry
off rainwater from the roof of a building.
Gauging—In brickwork, bringing every brick exactly to a certain
form by cutting and rubbing.
Globular Urn—A type of pottery vessel of the Middle or Late
Bronze Age, probably of foreign derivation and regarded as
intrusive into southern England; it has a spherical body with a
constriction above, and a more or less vertical neck.
Greensand—A Cretaceous sandstone containing the green ironbearing mineral glauconite.
Grisaille—Formal patterns painted in greyish tints, on wall surfaces
or on glass windows.
Groined Vault—See Vaulting.
Guilloche—A geometrical ornament consisting of two or more
intertwining bands forming a series of circles or other shapes.
Guttae—Small stud-like projections under the triglyphs and mutules
of the Doric entablature.
Hall—The principal room of a mediaeval house, normally open to the
Ham Hill stone—An oolitic freestone found within the Upper Lias
(Lower Jurassic); it takes its name from a major quarry area near
Hatchment—Square or lozenge-shaped tablet displaying the armorial
bearings, usually painted, of a deceased person; it is first hung
outside the house and then laid up in the church.
Heathstone—A brown, ferruginous gritstone found within the
Bagshot Beds; also called Carstone.
Helm—Complete barrel or dome-shaped head-defence of plate. Not
used in warfare after the middle of the 14th century, it continued
in use in the tilt-yard into the 16th century.
Hill-fort—A defensive enclosure of the Iron Age, fortified with
rampart and ditch, single or multiple, usually on dominant ground.
Hipped Roof—A roof with sloped instead of vertical ends. Half-hipped,
a roof in which the ends are partly vertical and partly sloped.
Hold-water Base—A column base with a deep concave moulding in
the upper surface.
Hollow Way—A sunken track, caused either by wear or by the
raising of the ground on each side.
Hood-mould—A projecting moulding on the face of a wall above an
arch, doorway, or window; it may follow the form of the arch
or it may be square in outline. Also called Label.
Hornwork—An outwork of an earthwork enclosure, such as a hillfort, often consisting of a single arm thrown out to protect an
Hut Circle—Footings or other remains of the walls of a circular
dwelling, usually prehistoric.
Impost—The projection, often moulded, at the springing of an arch,
upon which the arch appears to rest.
Incense Cup—A very small ritual or symbolic vessel, often found in
association with urn burials of the Early Bronze Age and particularly of the Wessex culture.
Indent—The sinking in a tomb slab for a monumental brass.
Interlace—Stone decoration in relief simulating woven or entwined
bands, in England usually associated with the period before the
Iron Age—The period which in Britain is taken to date from c. 600
B.C. to the Roman Conquest, A.D. 43.
Jamb—The side of an archway, doorway, window or other opening.
Jetty—The projection of the upper storey of a building beyond the
vertical plane of the lower storey.
Jewelled—With prism-like decoration in relief.
Joggling—The method of cutting the adjoining faces of the voussoirs
of an arch with rebated, zigzagged or wavy surfaces to provide a
Keel Moulding—A stone moulding, in profile resembling the crosssection through the keel of a boat.
Keystone—The middle stone in an arch.
King-Post—The middle vertical post in a roof-truss. See Roofs.
Kneeler—The stone at the foot of a gable, on which the inclined
coping stones rest.
Lancet—A narrow window with a pointed head, typical of the 13th
Light—Perpendicular division of a mullioned window.
Lintel—Horizontal beam or stone, bridging an opening.
Lombardic Lettering—Lettering, based on N. Italian manuscripts,
often used by mediaeval bellfounders.
Loop—A small narrow window, usually unglazed.
Louvre—A lantern-like structure on the roof of a hall or other building, with openings for ventilation or for the escape of smoke;
it is usually fitted with sloping slats (called louvre-boards), to
exclude rain. Louvre-boards are also used in belfry windows.
Lynchets—Cultivation scarps and terraces on hillsides, the positive
element comprising the accumulation of plough soil from uphill,
the negative element being cut away by the plough and moved
Mathematical Tiles—Revetment for walls of timber or cob, consisting of hung tiles wherein each tile is so shaped that, when
pointed with mortar, the exposed surface resembles brickwork.
Merlon—The solid part of an embattled parapet between the crenelles.
Metopes—The panels, sometimes carved, filling the spaces between
the triglyphs of the Doric entablature.
Mill-Rind—The iron affixed to the centre of a millstone. A heraldic
Misericord—A bracket, often elaborately carved, on the underside
of the hinged seat of a choir-stall. When the seat is turned up the
bracket comes into position to support the occupant during long
periods of standing.
Modillions—Brackets under the cornice in classical architecture.
Motte—In earthworks, a steep flat-topped mound, forming the main
feature of an 11th or 12th-century castle; originally often surmounted by a timber tower and usually associated with a Bailey.
Mullion—A vertical post, standard, or upright dividing a window
Muntin—In joinery or carpentry, an intermediate upright between
panels, tenoned into or stopping against upper and lower rails.
Mutules—Shallow blocks under the corona of the cornice in classical
Nail-head—Architectural ornament of small pyramidal form used
extensively in 12th-century work.
Narrow Rig—A form of ridge-and-furrow (q.v.) with ridges up to
5 yds. across; it is usually of 18th or 19th-century date.
Necking or Neck-moulding—The narrow moulding around the
bottom of a capital.
Neolithic—Of the later Stone Age; in Britain probably from about
3400 to 1800 B.C.
Newel—The central post in a circular staircase; also the principal
posts at the angles of a dog-legged or well staircase.
Nodding Arch—See under Arch.
Ogee—A compound curve of two parts, one convex, the other concave; a double-ogee moulding has two ogee profiles side by side,
the convexities adjacent to one another.
Open Fields—Large unenclosed fields of mediaeval and later date,
usually held in common and cultivated on a strip system.
Orders—In an arch, the receding concentric rings of voussoirs.
Oriel—A projecting bay-window, sometimes carried upon corbels or
brackets; also a compartment or embrasure with a large window
opening off one side of a mediaeval Hall.
Ovolo Moulding—A convex moulding of rounded profile.
Palladian Window—A three-light window with a round-headed
middle light and square-headed lights on either side, the side
lights having flanking pilasters, and small entablatures which form
the imposts to the arch of the centre light. See also Venetian
Palmette—In classical architecture, a stylised palm-leaf ornament.
Park Pale—A fence around a park. Mediaeval park pales usually
survive as banks with inner ditches.
Paten—A shallow vessel for holding the bread or wafer at the
celebration of the Holy Communion.
Patera—A flat disc-shaped ornament applied to a frieze, moulding,
or cornice; in Gothic work it commonly takes the form of a fourlobed leaf or flower.
Pediment—A low-pitched gable used in classical architecture above
a portico, at the end of a building, or above doors, windows,
niches, etc.; sometimes the apex is omitted, forming a broken
pediment, or the horizontal members are omitted, forming an open
Pelican-in-piety—A pelican shown, according to the mediaeval
legend, feeding her young upon drops of blood which she pecks
from her own breast.
Piscina—A basin in a church for washing the sacred vessels and provided with a drain; it is generally set in or against the S. wall of
the chancel, but sometimes is sunk in the pavement.
Plank-and-Muntin partition—A wooden division between two
rooms, composed of vertical planks alternating with, and tongued
into, grooved upright posts.
Plat-band—A projecting horizontal band of plain masonry or brickwork, as distinct from a moulded string-course.
Plinth—The projecting base of a wall or column, often chamfered or
moulded at the top.
Podsolisation—A leaching process in sandy soils, resulting in impoverishment of the top-soil and the deposit of iron salts at a
Poppy-head—Type of finial commonly found at the heads of bench-standards or desks in churches; generally it is carved with foliage
and flowers and resembles a fleur-de-lis.
Portland Stone—A fine white oolitic limestone of the Upper
Presbytery—The part of a church, usually reserved for priests, in
which is placed the communion table.
Principals—The main as opposed to the common rafters of a roof.
Pulpitum—A screen in a monastic church, dividing the monastic choir
from the nave.
Pulvinated Frieze—In Classical and Renaissance architecture, a frieze
having a convex or bulging profile.
Purbeck Marble—A shelly limestone of the Upper Jurassic system,
quarried in S. Dorset and capable of being polished.
Purlin—In roof construction, a horizontal timber resting on the
principal rafters or trusses and forming an intermediate support
for the common rafters. For Collar-purlin, see King-post under
Quarry—In windows, a small pane of glass, often lozenge-shaped.
In pavements, a square tile.
Quatrefoil—A four-petalled flower. See also Foil.
Queen-posts—A pair of vertical posts in a roof-truss, equidistant from
the centre line of the roof. See also under Roofs.
Quoin—The dressed stones at the angle of a building, or distinctive
brickwork in this position. Normally the quoin stones are long
and short in alternate courses; if they are of equal length it is
called a french quoin.
Rafters—Inclined timbers supporting a roof-covering. See also under
Rail—A horizontal member in the framing of a door, screen, panelling
or other woodwork.
Reading Beds—A Tertiary geological formation consisting of sand
and mottled red and white clay, with bands of concretionary
ironstone and of flints.
Rear-arch—The arch, on the inside of a wall, spanning a doorway or
Rebate—A continuous rectangular notch cut on an edge.
Reeding—Ornament consisting of narrow convex striations, the
reverse of fluting.
Rere-dorter—A monastic latrine.
Reredos—A screen of stone or wood at the back of an altar, usually
Responds—The half-columns or piers at the ends of an arcade, or
abutting a single arch.
Reveal—The internal side surface of a recess, doorway or window
Ridge (or Rig)—and—Furrow—Remains of cultivation of mediaeval
and later date; initially strips of arable land, usually 3 to 12 yds.
wide, thrown into ridges by the action of ploughing, leaving
furrows between them.
Rinceaux—Decoration composed of a sinuous stem between parallel
margins, with a coiled branch in each interstice, usually with
Roll-moulding—A continuous convex moulding cut upon the edges
of stone, woodwork, etc.
Rood (Rood-beam, Rood-screen, Rood-loft)—A cross or crucifix.
The Great Rood was set up at the E. end of the nave with accompanying figures of St. Mary and St. John; it was generally
carved in wood, and fixed on the loft or head of the rood-screen,
or on a special beam (the Rood-beam), reaching from wall to wall.
Sometimes the rood was merely painted on the wall above the
chancel-arch or on a closed wood partition or typanum in the
upper part of the arch. The Rood-screen is the open screen spanning
the E. end of the nave, shutting off the chancel; in the 15th
century a narrow gallery was often constructed above the cornice
to carry the rood and other images and candles, and it was also
used as a music-gallery. This loft was approached by a staircase
(and occasionally by more than one), either of wood or built in
the wall, wherever most convenient, and, when the loft was carried
right across an aisled building, the intervening walls of the nave
were often pierced with narrow archways. Many roods were
destroyed at the Reformation and their removal, with the rood
loft, was ordered in 1561.
Roofs—Collar—beam—a principal-rafter roof with collar-beams (q.v.)
connecting the principals.
Cruck—having a truss with principals springing from below the
level of the wall-plate. The timbers are usually curved, but
examples with straight timbers are recorded.
Hammer-beam—in which cantilevered beams instead of tie-beams,
braced from a level below the wall-plates, form the basis of
King-post and Collar-purlin—a trussed-rafter roof with king-posts
standing on the tie-beams to carry a centre purlin supporting the
King-post and Ridge—in which king-posts standing on tie-beams or
collar-beams directly support the ridge.
Mansard—characterised in exterior appearance by two pitches, the
lower steeper than the upper.
Principal Rafter—with rafters at intervals, of greater scantling than
the common rafters and framed to form trusses; they are normally
called by the name of the connecting member used in the truss,
tie-beam or collar-beam.
Queen-post—with two vertical or nearly vertical posts standing on
the tie-beam of a truss and supporting a collar-beam or the principal
Scissors-truss—as trussed-rafter, but with crossed braces instead of
Tie-beam—a principal rafter roof with a simple triangulation of a
horizontal beam linking the lower ends of the pairs of principals
to prevent their spread.
Trussed-rafter—in which all the timbers in the slopes are common
rafters of uniform size, and each pair of rafters is connected by a
collar-beam, which is often braced. At intervals, pairs of rafters
may be tenoned into a tie-beam.
Wagon—a trussed-rafter roof with curved braces, forming a semicircular arch, springing from wall-plate level. The soffit is usually
plastered over and the ridge member, other longitudinal members,
and transverse members at intervals are usually decorated with
mouldings which project below the plaster to form coffers.
Rubble—Walling of rough unsquared stones or flints. Coursed Rubble
—rubble walling with the stones or flints very roughly dressed
and levelled up in courses.
Rustication—Masonry in which only the margins of the stones are
worked; the word is also used for any masonry where the joints
are emphasised by mouldings, grooves, etc. Rusticated columns
are those in which the shafts are interrupted by square blocks of
stone, or by broad projecting bands.
Sacristy—A room, generally in immediate connection with a church,
in which the holy vessels are kept.
Samian Ware—A common table ware of the Roman period, mostly
of Gaulish origin, with a glossy surface, generally red in colour.
Also known as terra sigillata.
Scalloped Capital—A development of the cushion capital in which
the single cushion is elaborated into a series of truncated cones.
Scarp—A short, abrupt slope, usually artificial. In earthwork fortifications, the downward slope in front of the defenders. See also
Screen—In secular buildings, the wooden partition separating the
main space of a hall from the service end. Screens-passage, the space
at the service end of a hall between the screen and the end wall.
Sedilia—The seats, on the S. side of the chancel, used by the ministers
during the Mass.
Sill—The lower horizontal member of a window or door-frame; the
stone, tile or wood base below a window or door-frame, usually
with a weathered surface projecting beyond the wall-face to throw
off water. In timber-framed walls, the lower horizontal member
into which the studs are tenoned.
Situlate—A term used to describe the form of vessels, chiefly of
pottery, with straight tapering sides, high shoulders and short
everted necks, characteristic of the earlier phases of the Iron Age in
Slip-tiles—Tiles moulded with a design in intaglio which is filled in,
before burning, with clay of a different colour.
Soffit—The under-side of an arch, staircase, lintel, cornice, canopy,
Soil-mark—A trace of a levelled or buried feature revealed by differences in colour or texture of the soil, usually in ploughed land.
Solar—In a mediaeval house, a chamber occupied by the master,
usually adjoining the dais end of the hall.
Spandrel—The space between the outside curve of an arch and the
surrounding rectangular framework or moulding, or the space
between the outside curves of two adjoining arches and a moulding above them. Also, in open-string staircases, the bracket or
triangular exposed end of a step, often decorated with a scroll.
Splat—A flat board with shaped sides used in place of a turned and
moulded member, often having the outline of a baluster.
Springing-line—The level at which an arch springs from its supports.
Squinch—An arch thrown across the angle between two walls to
support an obliquely set superstructure, such as the base of a dome
Squint—An aperture pierced through a wall to allow a view of an
altar from places whence it could otherwise not be seen.
Stages—The divisions (e.g. of a tower) marked externally by horizontal
Staircases—A close-string staircase is one having a raking member into
which the treads and risers are morticed. An open-string staircase
has the raking member cut to the shape of the treads and risers. A
dog-legged staircase has adjoining flights running in opposite
directions, with a common newel. A well-staircase has stairs rising
round a central opening more or less as wide as it is long.
Stile—The vertical member of a timber frame, into which are tenoned
the ends of the rails or horizontal pieces.
Stops—Blocks terminating mouldings or chamfers in stone or wood;
stones at the ends of labels, string-courses, etc., against which the
mouldings finish, frequently carved to represent shields, foliage,
human or grotesque masks; also, plain or decorative, used at the
ends of a moulding or a chamfer to form the transition from the
angle to the square.
Stoup—A receptacle to contain holy water; those remaining are
usually in the form of a deeply-dished stone set in a niche or on
a pillar near a church doorway.
Strapwork—Decoration consisting of strap-like bands, often interlaced; characteristic of the late 16th and early 17th century.
String-course—A projecting horizontal band in a wall, usually
Strip Fields—Narrow fields characteristic of mediaeval and later openfield agriculture.
Strip Lynchets—Long, narrow cultivation terraces (treads), usually
open-ended, with scarps (risers) above or below. They are of
mediaeval and later date and represent the extension of strip
cultivation, usually the open fields, on to hillsides.
Studs—The common posts or uprights in timber-framed walls.
Swag—An architectural ornament; a festoon suspended at both ends
and carved to represent cloth, or flowers and fruit.
Table-tomb—A chest-like funeral monument, usually with panelled
sides and a flat top, sometimes with a recumbent effigy on top;
occasionally without sides, the top being supported on legs. See
Tas-de-charge—The lower courses of a vault or arch, laid in horizontal
Tessera—A small cube of stone, glass, or marble, used in mosaic.
Thumb-gauging—An ornamental top-edge to a ridge-tile, made with
the thumb before the tile is baked.
Tie-beam—The horizontal transverse beam in a roof, tying together
the feet of opposed rafters to counteract thrust.
Timber-framed Building—A building in which the walls are built
of open timbers and the interstices are filled in with brickwork or
lath and plaster (' wattle and daub '); the whole often covered
with plaster or boarding.
Tooling—Dressing or finishing a masonry surface with an axe or
other tool, usually in parallel lines.
Torus—In classical architecture, a convex moulding, generally rounded
Touch—A soft black marble quarried near Tournai.
Tracery—The ornamental work in the head of a window, screen,
panel, etc., formed by curving and interlacing of bars of stone
or wood, grouped together, generally over two or more lights or
Transom—A horizontal bar of stone or wood across a window-light.
Trellis, Treillage—Lattice-work of light wood or metal bars.
Triforium—In larger churches, an arcaded wall-passage at about midwall height, between the aisle arcades and the clearstorey. A large
gallery the full width of the aisle below is termed a Tribune.
Triglyphs—Blocks with vertical channels, placed at intervals along
the frieze of the Doric entablature.
Truss—A number of timbers framed together to bridge a space,
designed to be self-supporting and to carry other timbers. The
trusses of a roof are generally named after a peculiar feature in their
construction, such as King-post, Queen-post, Hammer-beam, Cruck;
Tufa (Calcareous)—Spongy deposit formed by the action of water on
limestone and resembling volcanic lava; often used in vaulting
on account of its light weight.
Tusking—Bricks or stones in alternate courses left projecting beyond
the wall-face of a building to facilitate the bonding in of an
Tympanum—The triangular or segmental field in the face of a pediment
or in the head of an arch.
Vaulting—An arched ceiling or roof of stone or brick, sometimes
imitated in wood and plaster. Barrel Vaulting is a continuous vault
unbroken in its length by cross-vaults. A Groined Vault (or Cross-vaulting) results from the intersection of simple vaulting surfaces.
A Ribbed Vault is a framework of arched ribs carrying the cells
that cover in the spaces between them. One bay of vaulting,
divided into four quarters or compartments, is termed quadripartite;
but often the bay is divided longitudinally into two subsidiary
bays, and the vaulting bay is thus divided into six compartments
and is termed sexpartite. Increased elaboration is given by
Tiercerons, secondary ribs springing from the wall-supports and
rising to a point other than the centre, and Liernes, tertiary ribs
that do not spring from the wall-supports, but cross from main rib
to main rib. In fan-vaulting numerous ribs rise from the springing
in equal curves, diverging equally in all directions, giving fan-like
effects when seen from below.
Venetian Window—Similar to Palladian window.
Vesica Piscis—An oval frame, pointed at top and bottom, common in
Vice—A small circular stair.
Voussoirs—The stones forming an arch.
Wagon-roof—See under Roofs.
Wall-plate—A timber laid lengthwise on the wall to receive the ends
of the rafters and other joists. In timber-framing, the studs are
tenoned into it.
Wave-moulding—A compound moulding formed by a convex curve
between two concave curves.
Weathering (to sills, tops of buttresses, etc.)—A sloping surface for
casting off rainwater.
Wessex Culture—A group of rich Early Bronze Age burials, largely
confined to the Wessex area, found almost entirely in round
barrows and associated with exotic grave goods of gold, amber,
Windmill Hill—A causewayed camp in Wiltshire; a type-site of the
earlier Neolithic period which gives its name to a culture and to a
family of pottery, characterised by several regional types, e.g.
Hembury, Abingdon, Whitehawk, etc.