A Synopsis of Architecture

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Religious Buildings in the Gothic Style

The various religious buildings, and others attached to them, to be found in the Gothic style of Architecture, consist of: --

Abbeys, monasteries of religious persons, having greater privileges than the other houses.

Almonry, the residence of an Almoner, one who collects and distributes alms.

Cathedral churches, the head churches of a diocese.

Chantry, a small chapel on the one side of a church.

Cells, the caves or small habitations of religious persons.

Chapter houses, those where the assemblies of the clergy were held.

Cloisters, religious houses, and covered walks around cathedrals.

Colleges, houses in which collegians reside and pursue their studies.

Collegiate churches, wherein a certain number of presbyters lived together, they were generally built near a cathedral.

Commanderies, cells to the principal houses of knights hospitalars, wherein rents and other monies were collected.

Consistories, places of assembly for the cardinals.

Convents, religious houses for monks and nuns.

Conventual cathedrals, those belonging to a convent.

Deanery, the house occupied by a dean.

Diaconicon, the room adjoining churches, where the sacred vestments, vessels, etc., were preserved, also called the sacristy.

Dorter, a dormitory in a monastery.

Friaries, convents of friar.

Galilee, a porch constructed at or near the west end of the great abbey churches, where the monks and clergy assembled on proceeding to, and coming from processions.

Lady chapels, places of retirement for the clergy behind the altar in churches.

Monasteries, houses of religious retirement.

Muniment house, a small strong room in churches or colleges for keeping the seal, evidences, charters, etc. of such churches or colleges, (called muniments).

Nunneries, houses for nuns.

Oratories, private chapels allotted for prayer alone.

Preceptories, cells to the principal houses of knights templars, wherein rents and other monies were collected.

Priories, convents next in rank to an abbey.

Prothyrum, a porch to any outer door.

Refectories, rooms for refreshment near the churches.

Vestiarium, the apartment in a monastery wherein the vestments of the monks are kept.

Churches were usually built either in the form of the Latin or Greek cross, the latter of which has all its four branches, (croisillons) of the same length; the Roman or Latin cross has one branch considerably longer than the other three. The height of most cathedrals was equal to the breadth of the nave and side aisles; the spires and towers as high as the length of the nave; the transept was half the length of the whole fabric; and the aisles half the breadth of the nave.

Divisions of Gothic Churches

The principal divisions of the churches and the parts connected with them, were,

Aisles, the divisions on either side of the nave.

Ambones, the pulpits.

Baptistery, the place where the sacrament of baptism is performed.

Brasses, sepulchral engravings on brass plates let into the slabs in the pavement.

Carol, a pew in the cloister with carols, (carolae) or inscriptions marked on the walls.

Choir, the part east of the cross; the choir is generally enclosed with a screen, on the west end of which stands the organ.

The space behind the altar is called the Lady Chapel.

The choir has side aisles as passages to the altar. The part behind the altar in churches not collegiate is called the chancel, which also may extend round the altar, and in modern churches, the eastern end in which the altar is placed, and surrounded or enclosed with latices, (cancelli).

To most cathedrals are attached a chapter house, and cloisters.

Clere-story, the story above the triforium, and roofs of the aisles.

Feretories, the stands whereon the bier was placed.

Font, the stone basin in which the water for the ceremony of baptism is contained.

Lavatory, a basin for water, with a hole at the bottom to carry off the water, placed near the altar for the use of the priest at mass.

Lectern, the reading desk.

Monument, a tomb raised to the memory of the deceased.

Nave, the part west of the cross, at the west end of which was usually the great entrance door.

Reredos, the screen or altar piece.

Rood-loft, the gallery over the entrance of the choir.

Scutcheon, a shield of arms.

Shrine, a case in which were preserved the remains of saints.

Stalls, the seats for the dean, canons, etc., in choirs.

Stoups, niches with basins for holy water.

Tabernacle work, the ornamental carved work over the stalls.

Throne, the seat for the bishop.

Transept, the part extending to the north and and south ends of the cross.

Triforium, the gallery under the roof of the aisles, and below the clerestory.

Undercroft, the vaults or crypt under a church.

Weepers, small statues placed at the side of the principal figure on a tomb, representing the relatives or friends of the deceased.




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