An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1975.

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'Glossary', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse, (London, 1975) pp. 95-98. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]


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 ornament.

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 shaft.

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 England.

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 line.

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 omitted.

Band or Plat Band—A flat projecting horizontal strip of masonry or brickwork across the face of a building, as distinct from a moulded string.

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 projecting timbers.

Barrel VaultingSee 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 feature).

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 spaces between.

Bolection Moulding—A bold moulding of double curvature raised above the general plane of the framework of a door, fireplace or panelling.

BondSee 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 arms.

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.

Cinquefoil.—See Foil.

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 level.

Collar PurlinSee 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, hood-moulds, etc.

Crop-Mark—Trace of a levelled or buried feature revealed on the land surface by differential growth of crops, especially after drought.

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 Classical cornices.

Diaper—All-over decoration of surfaces with squares, diamonds, or other patterns.

Die—The part of a pedestal between the base and the cornice.

DogLeg StaircaseSee 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 MouldingSee Ogee.

Dressings—The building materials, specially chosen or treated, defining or emphasising the architectural features of an elevation.

Drip StoneSee Hood Mould.

EmbattledSee Battlement.

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 ArchSee 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 band.

Garderobe—Wardrobe. Antiquarian usage applies it to a latrine or privy chamber.

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 VaultSee 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 roof.

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 church.

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.

MansardSee under Roofs.

Mask StopSee 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 into lights.

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 the building.

Oriel Window—A projecting bay-window carried upon corbels or brackets.

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 Communion.

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 BandSee 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 feature.

Principals—In a roof of double-frame construction, the main as opposed to the common rafters.

PurlinCollar 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 common rafters.

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 Roofs.

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 window-opening.

Rebate—A continuous rectangular notch.

Reeding—The converse of fluting, i.e. with convex not concave moulding.

Reredos—A screen of stone or wood at the back of an altar, usually enriched.

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 the collars.

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 tomb chamber.

Scalloped Capital—A development of the cushion capital (q.v.) in which the single cushion is elaborated into a series of truncated cones.

Shaft—A slender column. Shafted jambs, reveals of a wall opening elaborated with one or more shafts, either engaged or detached.

Side-PurlinSee Purlin.

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, etc.

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 contained curve.

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 the square.

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 or bays.

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 WindowSee 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 StaircaseSee Staircase.

Wimple—Scarf covering chin and throat.

Wind BraceSee Brace.

WindowCasement, with hinged glazed panels. Sash (or hung sash), glazed panels sliding vertically. Sliding-sash, with glazed panels sliding horizontally (also Yorkshire sash).

Yorkshire SashSee WindowSliding-sash.