OF THE MEANING ATTACHED TO THE TECHNICAL TERMS USED
IN THE INVENTORY
Abacus—The uppermost member of a capital.
Abutment—The solid lateral support of an arch.
Acanthus—A plant represented in stylised form in Classical and
Renaissance ornament, in particular in the capitals of 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. (See also Hatchment.)
Acroteria—In Classical architecture, blocks on the apex and lower
ends of a pediment, often carved with honeysuckle or palmette
Altar Tomb—A modern term for a tomb of stone or marble resembling, but not used as, an altar.
Annulet—In architecture, a small flat fillet encircling a column or
Anthemion—Honeysuckle or palmette ornament in Classical architecture.
Apse—A semicircular or polygonal recess, semi-domed or vaulted, in
or projecting from a building.
Arabesque—A highly stylised fret-ornament in low relief, common
in Moorish architecture, found in 16th and 17th-century work in
Arcade—A range of arches carried on piers or columns. Blind arcade,
a series of arches, frequently interlaced, carried on shafts or
pilasters against a solid wall.
Arch—The following are some of the most usual forms:
Flat or straight—Having the soffit horizontal.
Four-centred, depressed, Tudor—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. Sometimes the two upper arcs are replaced by straight lines.
Lancet—A pointed arch struck with radii greater than the span.
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
most of the superincumbent weight.
Segmental—A single arc struck from a centre below the springing
Segmental-pointed—A pointed arch, struck from two centres below
the springing line.
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 returned round the jambs and
head of a doorway or window opening.
Archivolt—In Classical architecture, the moulding round an arch.
Arris—The sharp edge formed by the meeting of two surfaces.
Ashlar—Masonry wrought to an even face and square edges.
Astragal—A small semicircular moulding or bead.
Attic—A low storey above an entablature or cornice; also, a storey
wholly or partly within the roof.
Attic Base—A moulded column-base with a profile comprising two
torus (convex) mouldings divided by a scotia (concave) between
two fillets. In Romano-British examples the fillets are often
Band or Plat Band—A flat projecting horizontal strip of masonry
or brickwork across the face of a building, as distinct from a
Barge Board—A timber plank, often carved, fixed to the edge of a
gabled roof at a short distance from the face of the wall, to protect
Barrel Vaulting— See Vaulting.
Battlement—In fortification, the alternating merlons and embrasures
on the parapet or breastwork of a rampart walk; hence Battlemented (or Embattled, a usage for the decorative adaptation of the
Bay—The main divisions of a building or feature, on plan or in elevation, defined by recurring structural members, as in an arcade, a
fenestrated façade or a timber frame.
Beading—Small round moulding.
Billet—In architecture, an ornament used in the 11th and 12th
centuries consisting of short attached cylinders or rectangles with
Bolection Moulding—A bold moulding of double curvature raised
above the general plane of the framework of a door, fireplace or
Bond— See Brick-work.
Boss—A projecting square or round ornament, covering the intersections of the ribs in a vault, panelled ceiling or roof, etc.
Bottom Rail—The lowest horizontal timber of a door, partition,
window sash, etc.
Brace—In timber framing and timber roof construction, subsidiary
timber rising obliquely from a major vertical member to support
a major horizontal member (in contradistinction to a Strut, q.v.).
Arch-brace, when curved. Wind-brace, a subsidiary timber placed
diagonally between the principals and purlins of a roof to increase
resistance to wind-pressure.
Bressumer—A spanning beam forming the direct support of a wall or
timber framing above it.
Bricks and Brick-work
Cutter—A brick of very fine quality used for arches, quoins, etc.
and capable of being cut.
Header—A brick laid so that the end appears on the wall face.
Stretcher—A brick laid so that the side appears on the wall face.
English Bond—A method of laying bricks so that alternate courses
appear as all headers and all stretchers on the wall face.
Flemish Bond—In which alternate headers and stretchers in each
course appear on the wall face.
Buttresses—Projecting masonry or brickwork support to a wall.
Angle—Two meeting, or nearly meeting, at right-angles at a corner.
Clasping—Returned to encase an angle.
Diagonal—Projecting diagonally at a corner.
Lateral—At a corner of a building and axial with one wall.
Cable Moulding—A moulding carved in the form of a rope or cable.
Canopy—A projection or hood over a door, window, etc.; the
covering over a tomb or niche.
Cartouche—In Renaissance ornament, a tablet imitating a scroll with
ends rolled up, used ornamentally or bearing an inscription or
Casement—1. A wide hollow moulding in a window jamb, etc.;
2. the hinged part of a window which opens sideways.
Cavetto—A hollow moulding, in profile a quarter-circle.
Centring—Temporary wooden framework used to support an arch
or vault during construction.
Chalice—The name used in the Inventory to distinguish the pre-Reformation type of Communion cup with a shallow bowl from
the post-Reformation cup with a deeper bowl.
Chamfer—The small plane formed when a sharp edge or arris is cut
away, usually at an angle of 45°; hollow chamfer, when the plane
is concave; sunk chamfer, when it is recessed.
Chevron—In architecture, a decorative form resembling an inverted
V and often used in a consecutive series.
Clerestorey—An upper stage, pierced by windows, in the main walls
of a church or domestic building.
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 at some distance above wall-plate
Collar Purlin—See Purlin.
Console—A bracket with a compound-curved outline.
Coped Slab—A slab of which the upper face is ridged down the
middle, and sometimes hipped at each end.
Corbel—A projecting stone or piece of timber for the support of a
super-incumbent weight. Corbel-table—A row of corbels, usually
carved, and supporting a projection.
Cornice—A crowning projection. In Classical architecture, the
crowning or upper portion of the entablature.
Cover Paten—A cover to a Communion cup, used as a paten.
Crest—A device worn upon a helm or helmet. Cresting, an ornamental
finish along the top of a screen, etc.
Crockets—Carved projections spaced, usually at regular intervals,
along the vertical or sloping sides of spires, canopies, pinnacles,
Crop-Mark—Trace of a levelled or buried feature revealed on the
land surface by differential growth of crops, especially after
Crown Post—A vertical post standing centrally on a tie-beam to give
direct support to a collar and collar purlin, and additionally to
the collar purlin through two-way braces.
Cushion Capital—A capital cut from a cube with its lower angles
rounded off to adapt it to a circular shaft.
Cusp—A pointed projection from the soffit of an arch, formed by two
arcs of smaller radius. The foils in Gothic windows, arches, panels,
etc., are formed by cusping and sub-cusping, often ornamented at
the ends (cusp-points) with carving.
Dado—The separate protective or decorative treatment applied to the
lower parts of wall-surfaces to a height, normally, of 3 ft. to 4 ft.
Dado-rail, the moulding or capping at the top of the dado.
Dentils—The small rectangular tooth-like blocks used decoratively in
Diaper—All-over decoration of surfaces with squares, diamonds, or
Die—The part of a pedestal between the base and the cornice.
Dog—Leg Staircase—See Staircase.
Dog-Tooth Ornament—A typical 13th-century carved enrichment
consisting of a series of pyramidal flowers of four petals; often
used to enrich hollow mouldings.
Dormer Window—A vertical window on the slope of a roof and
having a roof of its own.
Double-Ogee Moulding—See Ogee.
Dressings—The building materials, specially chosen or treated,
defining or emphasising the architectural features of an elevation.
Drip Stone—See Hood Mould.
Embrasures—The openings in an embattled parapet, or the recesses
for windows, doorways, etc.
Entablature—In Classical and Renaissance architecture, the part of
an order above the column, the full entablature comprising
architrave, frieze, and cornice; often used alone, in whole or in part,
as a horizontal feature.
Extrados—The outer curve of the voussoirs of an arch.
Fanlight—Glazed opening immediately over, and integrated within
the framing of, a doorway.
Fascia—A plain or moulded facing board.
Fillet—In mouldings, a plain narrow band between, or adjacent to,
more complex mouldings.
Finial—A stylised ornament at the top of a pinnacle, gable, canopy, etc.
Foil (trefoil, quatrefoil, cinquefoil, multifoil, etc.)—The shape defined by
the curves formed by cusping.
Foliated (of a capital, corbel, etc.)—Carved with leaf ornament.
Four-Centred Arch—See Arch.
Frieze—The middle zone in an entablature, between the architrave and
the cornice; generally any band of ornament or colour immediately
below a cornice.
Gadrooning—Decorative enrichment comprising a series of convex
ridges, the converse of fluting, forming an ornamental edge or
Garderobe—Wardrobe. Antiquarian usage applies it to a latrine or
Gauging—In brickwork, cutting and rubbing bricks to a particular
shape. Specially made soft bricks are used for the purpose.
Gesso—A mixture of whiting and size, spread on stone or wood as a
ground for painting.
Graffito—Scratched inscription or design.
Grisaille—Painting in shades of grey.
Groining, Groined Vault—See Vaulting.
Guilloche—A geometrical ornament consisting of two or more undulating bands intertwining to form a series of circles.
Guttae—Small stud-like projections under the triglyphs and mutules
of the Doric entablature.
Hall—In a mediaeval house, the principal room, often open to the
Hatchment—In modern usage, the large square or lozenge-shaped
framed painting displaying the armorial bearings of a deceased
person. It was first hung outside his house and then laid up in the
Hipped Roof—A roof with sloping instead of vertical ends. Half-hipped, a roof with ends partly vertical, and partly sloping.
Hog-Back—A type of late Saxon stone grave-cover shaped with a
curved ridge forming a 'hog-back'.
Hood Mould or Label—A projecting moulding on the wall face
above an opening or feature; it may follow the form of the arch
or head of the same or be square in outline.
Impost—The projection, often moulded, at the springing of an arch,
upon which the arch appears to rest.
Indent—The sinking in a slab for a monumental brass.
Intrados—The inner curve of an arch.
Jambs—The sides of an archway, doorway, window, or other opening.
Jetty—The projection of an upper storey of a building beyond the
plane of a lower storey.
Joggling—The method of cutting the adjoining faces of the voussoirs
of an arch with rebated, zigzagged or wavy surfaces to provide a
better key or lodgement.
Keystone—The middle voussoir in an arch.
King-Post—A vertical post extending from a tie-beam or a collar-beam to the apex of a roof, and supporting a ridge-piece.
Kneeler—In a parapeted gable, the stone or block built well into the
wall to resist the sliding tendency of the coping.
Lacing Course—In masonry or brickwork, a bonding course binding
the wall-facing together or to the wall core.
Lancet—A tall, narrow window with a pointed head, typical of the
13th century. See also Arch.
Linen-fold Panelling—Wainscot ornamented with stylised representation of folded linen.
Lintel—The horizontal beam or stone bridging an opening.
Loop—A small narrow light, often unglazed.
Louvre—A lantern-like structure surmounting the roof of a hall or
other building, with openings for ventilation or the escape of
smoke; the openings are usually crossed by sloping slats (louvre
boards) to exclude rain. Louvre boards are also used in the windows
of church belfries, instead of glazing, to allow the bells to be heard.
Mansard—See under Roofs.
Mask Stop—See under Stops.
Metopes—The panels, often carved, filling the spaces between the
triglyphs in the Doric entablature.
Middle Rail—A horizontal rail between ground sill and wall-plate in
a timber-framed wall.
Mitre—The junction of mouldings or strips meeting at an angle; in
joinery the joint is commonly on the line of the mitre. A junction
in which the joint is straight and not at the angle of the mitre is
termed a mason's mitre.
Modillions—Brackets under the cornice in a Classical entablature.
Mortice—A socket cut in a piece of wood, usually to receive the end,
the tenon, of another piece.
Mullion—An upright of timber, stone or brick dividing an opening
Muntin—In panelling, an intermediate vertical timber between panels
and butting into or stopping against the rails.
Nail Head—Small architectural enrichment of pyramidal form, used
extensively in 12th-century work.
Necking or Neck Moulding—The narrow moulding round the lower
extremity of a capital.
Newel—The central post in a circular or winding staircase; also the
principal post at each angle of a dog-legged or well staircase.
Offset—A ledge formed by the set-back of a wall.
Ogee—A compound curve of two parts, one convex, the other
concave. A double-ogee moulding is formed by two ogee mouldings meeting at their convex ends.
Orders (of arches)—Receding concentric rings of voussoirs.
Orders of Architecture—In Classical or Renaissance architecture,
the five systems of columnar architecture, known as Tuscan,
Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. Colossal Order, one in
which the columns of pilasters embrace more than one storey of
Oriel Window—A projecting bay-window carried upon corbels or
Oversailing Course—A brick or stone course projecting beyond the
course below it.
Ovolo Moulding—A Classical moulding forming a quarter round or
semi-ellipse in section.
Palladian or Venetian Window—A three-light window, with a tall
round-headed middle light and shorter lights on either side, the
side lights with flanking pilasters and small entablatures forming
the imposts to the arch over the centre light.
Paten—A dish for holding the Bread at the celebration of Holy
Patera, -ae—A square or circular flat ornament applied to a frieze,
moulding or cornice; in Gothic work it commonly takes the form
of a four-lobed leaf or flower.
Pediment—A low-pitched gable used in Classical and Renaissance
architecture above a portico, at the end of a building, or above
doorways, windows, niches, etc.; sometimes the gable angle is
omitted, forming a broken pediment, or the horizontal members
are omitted, forming an open pediment. A curved gable form is
sometimes used in this way.
Pellet Ornament—An enrichment consisting of balls or flat discs.
Pilaster—A shallow pier of rectangular section attached to a wall.
Piscina—A basin for washing the sacred vessels and provided with a
drain, generally set in or against the wall to the S. of the altar, but
sometimes sunk in the pavement.
Plat Band—See Band.
Plinth—The projecting base of a wall, generally chamfered or
moulded at the top.
Podium—In Classical architecture, a basis, usually solid, supporting
a temple or other superstructure.
Portico—A covered entrance to a building, colonnaded, either constituting the whole front of the building or forming an important
Principals—In a roof of double-frame construction, the main as
opposed to the common rafters.
Purlin—Collar purlin, a beam running longitudinally immediately
beneath the collars joining pairs of common rafters. Side purlin,
a horizontal longitudinal member resting on or tenoned into the
principal rafters of a truss and giving intermediate support to the
Quarry—In glazing, small panes of glass, generally diamond-shaped
or square set diagonally.
Queen-Posts—In a roof truss, a pair of vertical posts equidistant from
the centre line of the roof. See also under Roofs.
Quoins—The dressed stones at the angle of a building, or distinctive
brickwork in this position.
Rafters—Inclined timbers supporting a roof-covering. See also under
Rail—A horizontal member in the framing of a door, screen, or panel.
Rear Arch—The arch on the inside of a wall spanning a doorway or
Rebate—A continuous rectangular notch.
Reeding—The converse of fluting, i.e. with convex not concave
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 at
each side of a single arch.
Reveal—The internal side surface of a recess, especially of a doorway
or window opening.
Ridge (or Rig) and Furrow—Remains of old cultivations.
Riser—The vertical piece connecting two treads in a flight of stairs.
Rood (Rood beam, Rood screen, Rood loft)—A cross or crucifix. The
Great Rood was set up in 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).
Collar-beam—a principal-rafter roof (q.v.) with collar-beams connecting the principals.
Crown-post—a trussed-rafter roof with a central post (crown-post)
standing on a tie-beam and carrying a central purlin supporting
King-post—in which a central post (king-post) standing on the
tie-beam or collar-beam of a truss directly supports the ridge.
Mansard—characterised in exterior appearance by two pitches, the
lower steeper than the upper.
Principal-rafter—with rafters of greater scantling than the common
rafters framed to form trusses at regular intervals along the roof;
normally called by the name of the connecting member used in
the truss, tie-beam or collar-beam. Post-mediaeval roofs of this
kind often have queen-posts.
Queen-post—with two vertical or nearly vertical posts (queen-posts)
standing towards either end of the tie-beam of a truss and supporting the collar-beam or the principal-rafters.
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.
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; in Regular Coursed Rubble the stones or
flints are laid in distinct courses, being kept to a uniform height
in each course.
Rustication—Primarily, masonry in which only the margins of the
stones are worked; 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 broad projecting bands.
Sacristy—A room generally in immediate connection with a church,
in which the holy vessels and other valuables are kept.
Sarcophagus—A stone coffin, usually inscribed and often embellished
with sculptures, intended to be viewed above ground or in a
Scalloped Capital—A development of the cushion capital (q.v.) in
which the single cushion is elaborated into a series of truncated
Shaft—A slender column. Shafted jambs, reveals of a wall opening
elaborated with one or more shafts, either engaged or detached.
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.
Soffit—The under side of an arch, staircase, lintel, cornice, canopy,
Soffit Cusps—Cusps springing from the flat soffit of an arch, and not
from its chamfered sides or edges.
Spandrel—The more or less triangular space between an angle and a
Splay—A sloping face making an angle of more than a right angle
with another face, as in internal window jambs, etc.
Springing Line—The level at which an arch springs from its supports.
Spur—Carved tongue, foliage or grotesque filling each spandrel
between a circular base and a square or polygonal plinth.
Squinch—An arch thrown across the angle between two walls to
support a superstructure, such as the base of a stone spire.
Squint—A piercing 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 by horizontal stringcourses.
Staircase—A close-string staircase is one having a raking member into
which the treads and risers are housed. An open-string staircase has
the raking member cut to the shape of the treads and risers. A
dog-leg 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 members of a 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 thence to
Stoup—A receptacle, normally by the doorway of a church, to contain
holy water; those remaining are usually in the form of a deeply-dished stone set in a niche or on a pillar.
Straight Joint—A vertical joint in a wall usually signifying different
phases of building.
String, String Course—A projecting moulded band across a wall.
See also Staircase.
Strut—In timber framing and roof-construction a subsidiary oblique
timber rising from a horizontal member to give support to a
vertical post or to a rafter (in contradistinction to Brace, q.v.).
Studs—The common posts or uprights in timber-framed walls.
Swag—Decorative representation of a festoon of cloth or flowers and
fruit suspended from both ends.
Tie-Beam—The horizontal transverse beam in a roof, tying together
the feet of pairs of rafters to counteract thrust.
Timber-Framed Building—A building of which the walls are built
of open timbers and the interstices filled in with brickwork or
lath and plaster ('wattle and daub') etc., the whole often covered
with plaster or boarding.
Trabeation—The use of horizontal beams in building construction;
descriptive in the Inventory of conspicuous cased ceiling-beams.
Tracery—The ornamental work in the head of a window, screen,
panel, etc., formed by the curving and interlacing of bars of stone
or wood, grouped together, generally over two or more lights
Transom—An intermediate horizontal bar of stone or wood across a
window-opening. The horizontal member of a door-frame
beneath a fanlight.
Tread—The horizontal platform of a step or stair.
Trellis—Latticework of light wood or metal bars.
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, to
be self-supporting, and to carry other timbers. The trusses of a
roof are generally named after a particular feature in their construction, e.g. King-post, Queen-post; see under Roofs.
Tympanum—The triangle in the face of a pediment or the semicircle
in the head of an arch.
Vaulting—An arched ceiling or roof of stone or brick, sometimes
imitated in wood or plaster. Barrel vault, a tunnel vault unbroken
in its length by cross vaults. Groined vault (or cross vault), resulting
from the intersection of simple vaulting surfaces. Ribbed vault,
with a framework of arches carrying the covering of the spaces
between them. One bay of vaulting divided into four quarters or
compartments is termed quadripartite.
Venetian Window—See Palladian Window.
Verge—The slightly projecting edge of a roof-covering along the
sloping gable-end of a roof.
Voussoirs—The wedge-shaped stones forming an arch.
Wainscot—Wood panelling. Oak imported for this purpose from
the Baltic was also so called.
Wall-Plate—A timber laid lengthwise at the wall top to receive the
ends of the roof rafters and other joists. In timber-framing, the
studs are also 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 water.
Well Staircase—See Staircase.
Wimple—Scarf covering chin and throat.
Wind Brace—See Brace.
Window—Casement, with hinged glazed panels. Sash (or hung sash),
glazed panels sliding vertically. Sliding-sash, with glazed panels
sliding horizontally (also Yorkshire sash).
Yorkshire Sash—See Window—Sliding-sash.