Travels with Pevsner

The Buildings of Hampshire
Glossary of Terms used in our Extracts

  • The Extracts A complete list of all Buildings of England extracts used in Hantsweb.

APSE
vaulted semicircular or polygonal end of a chancel or chapel.

ARCH
round-headed, ie semi-circular; pointed, ie consisting of two curves, each drawn from one centre, and meeting in a point at the top; segmental, ie in the form of a segment.

ASHLAR
masonry of large blocks wrought to even faces and square edges.

BAILEY
open space or court of a stone-built castle.

BALUSTER
small pillar or column of fanciful outline.

BALUSTRADE
series of balusters supporting a handrail or coping.

BAYS
internal compartments of a building; each divided from the other not by solid walls but by divisions only marked in the side walls (columns, pilasters, etc) or the ceiling (beams, etc). Also external divisions of a building by fenestration (windows).

BOND, ENGLISH or FLEMISH
Header: brick laid so that the end only appears on the face of the wall.
Stretcher: brick laid so that the side only appears on the face of the wall.
English Bond: method of laying bricks so that alternate courses or layers on the face of the wall are composed of headers or stretchers only.
Flemish Bond: method of laying bricks so that alternate headers or stretchers appear in each course on the face of the wall.

BOSS
knob or projection usually placed to cover the intersection of ribs in a vault.

CAPITAL
head or top part of a column.

CARYATID
whole female figure supporting an entablature or other similar member. Termini Caryatids: female busts or demi-figures or three-quarter figures supporting an entablature or other similar member and placed at the top of termini pilasters.

CHAMFER
surface made by cutting across the square angle of a stone block, piece of wood, etc., at an angle of 45° to the other two surfaces.

CLASSICAL
used here as the term for Greek and Roman architecture and any subsequent styles inspired by it.

CUPOLA
small polygonal or circular domed turret crowning a roof.

DECORATED
historical division of English Gothic architecture covering the period from c1290 to c1350.

DORMER (WINDOW)
window placed vertically in the sloping plane of a roof.

EARLY ENGLISH
historical division of English Gothic architecture roughly covering the 13th Century.

EAVES
underpart of a sloping roof overhanging a wall.

FAÇADE
front of a building, that is, its outward appearance.

EPITAPH
hanging wall monument.

FOIL
lobe (leaf) formed by the cusping of a circle or an arch. Trefoil, quatrefoil, cinquefoil, multifoil, express the number of leaf shapes to be seen.

GARGOYLE
water spout projecting from the parapet of a wall or tower; carved into a human or animal shape, sometimes grotesque in character.

GROIN
sharp edge at the meeting of two cells of a cross-vault.

HERRINGBONE WORK
brick, stone or tile construction where the component blocks are laid diagonally instead of flat. Alternate courses lie in opposing directions to make a zigzag pattern up the face of the wall.

JAMB
straight side of an archway, doorway or window.

KEYSTONE
middle stone in an arch or a rib-vault.

LANTERN
in architecture, a small circular or polygonal turret with windows all round crowning a roof (see CUPOLA) or a dome.

LIGHTS
window panes (see MULLION)

LINTEL
horizontal beam or stone bridging an opening.

MOTTE-AND-BAILEY
post-Roman and Norman defence system consisting of an earthen mound (the motte) topped with a wooden tower eccentrically placed within a bailey, with enclosure ditch and palisade, and with the rare addition of an internal bank.

MULLION
vertical post or upright dividing a window into two or more "lights".

ORDER
(1) of a doorway or window: series of concentric steps receding towards the opening;
(2) in classical architecture: column with base, shaft, capital and entabulature according to one of the following styles: Greek Doric, Roman Doric, Tuscan Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite. The detailed forms of these are illustrated in the Glossary included in all Buildings of England volumes.

PEDIMENT
low-pitched gable used in classical, Renaissance, and neo-classical architecture above a portico and above doors, windows, etc. It may be straight-sided or curved segmentally.
Broken Pediment: one where the centre portion of the sloping sides is left open.
Open Pediment: one where the centre portion of the base is left out.

PERPENDICULAR (PERP.)
historical division of English Gothic architecture covering the period from c1335-50 to c1530.

PIER
strong, solid support, frequently square in section or of composite section (compound pier).

PILASTER
shallow pier attached to a wall.

PORTE-COCHÈRE
a porch large enough to admit wheeled vehicles.

PORTICO
centrepiece of a house or a church with classical detached or attached columns and a pediment. A portico is called prostyle or in antis according to whether it projects from or recedes into a building. In a portico in antis the columns range with the side walls.

QUADRANGLE
inner courtyard in a large building.

QUOINS
dressed stones at the angles of a building. Sometimes all the stones are of the same size; more often they are alternately large and small.

RENDERING
plastering of an outer wall.

RESPOND
half-pier bonded into a wall and carrying one end of an arch.

RIB-VAULT
see VAULT.

ROOF
Single-framed: if consisting entirely of transverse members (such as rafters with or without braces, collars, tie-beams, king-posts or queen-posts, etc. [see below]) not tied together longitudinally.
Double-framed: if longitudinal members (such as a ridge beam) are employed. As a rule in such cases the rafters are divided into stronger principals and weaker subsidiary rafters.
Hipped: roof with sloped instead of vertical ends.
Mansard: roof with a double slope, the lower slope being larger and steeper than the upper.
Saddleback: tower roof shaped like an ordinary gabled timber roof.
The following members have special names:
Rafter: roof-timber sloping up from the wall plate to the ridge.
Principal: principal rafter, usually corresponding to the main bay divisions of the nave or chancel below.
Wall Plate: timber laid longitudinally on the top of a wall.
Purlin: longitudinal member laid parallel with wall plate and ridge beam some way up the slope of the roof.
Tie-beam: beam connecting the two slopes of a roof across at its foot, usually at the height of the wall plate, to prevent the roof from spreading.
Collar-beam: tie-beam applied higher up the slope of the roof.
Strut: upright timber connecting the tie-beam with the rafter above it.
King-post: upright timber connecting a tie-beam and collar-beam with the ridge beam.
Queen-posts: two struts placed symmetrically on a tie-beam or collar-beam.
Braces: inclined timbers inserted to strengthen others. Usually braces connect a collar-beam with the rafters below or a tie-beam with the wall below. Braces can be straight or curved (also called arched).
Hammer-beam: beam projecting at right-angles, usually from the top of a wall, to carry arched braces or struts and arched braces or struts and arched braces.

ROTUNDA
building circular in plan.

SARCOPHAGUS, SARCOPHAGI
elaborately carved coffin (plural: sarcophagi).

SEGMENTAL
in the form of a segment.

STRAPWORK
C16 decoration consisting of interlaced bands, and forms similar to fretwork or cut and bent leather.

TERMINAL FIGURES (TERMS, TERMINI)
upper part of a human figure growing out of a pier, pilaster, etc., which tapers towards the base.

TIMBER-FRAMING
method of construction where the walls are built of timber framework with the spaces filled in by plaster or brickwork. Sometimes the timber is covered over with plaster or boarding laid horizontally.

TRACERY
intersecting ribwork in the upper part of a window, or used decoratively in blank arches, on vaults, etc.

TRANSOM
horizontal bar across the openings of a window.

TURRET
very small tower, round or polygonal in plan.

VAULT
Barrel-vault see Tunnel-vault.
Cross-vault: see Groin-vault.
Domical vault: square or polygonal dome rising direct on a square or polygonal bay, the curved surfaces separated by groins.
Fan-vault: Late Medieval vault where all ribs springing from one springer are of the same length, the same distance from the next, and the same curvature.
Groin-vault or Cross-vault: vault of two tunnel-vaults of identical shape intersecting each other at right angles. Chiefly Norman and Renaissance.
Lierne: tertiary rib, that is, rib which does not spring either from one of the main springers or from the central boss. Introduced in the C14, continues to the C16.
Quadripartite: one wherein one bay of vaulting is divided into four parts
Rib-vault: vault with diagonal ribs projecting along the groins.
Ridge-rib: rib along the longitudinal or transverse ridge of a vault. Introduced in the early C13.
Transverse Arch: arch separating one bay of a vault from another.
Tunnel-vault or Barrel-vault: vault of semicircular or pointed section. Chiefly Norman and Renaissance.

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Material from The Buildings of England (Hampshire edition) is © Copyright Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd, 1967, reproduced by kind permission of Penguin Books.

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