The word aisle comes from the Latin ala meaning ‘wing’ and in church architecture it relates to a lateral extension of the nave. Generally introduced as a later addition to an existing church, aisles are often added to both the north and south sides of the nave depending on the prosperity of the church. The additions of aisles to an existing nave often meant that the walls and roof of the nave had to be raised to provide sufficient light to the church. The extensions to the walls resulting in a clerestory being added.


An area of a space such as an aisle defined by regular vertical features such as columns, arches or windows.


A structure in which bells are hung. Often used to differentiate between towers holding peals of bells and smaller arrangements involving one or two bells.


A buttress is a projecting support built against a wall or tower to counteract the pressures from the weight of roofs and towers. Also used to provide stability for walls weakened by windows and to strengthen structures that may be in danger of collapse.


The chancel is the eastern part of the church, where the altar is situated. Often separated from the nave by means of a chancel arch and possibly a rood screen.


The upper storey of a nave containing a series of windows. Often added when aisles were built to permit light into the nave.


A projection of stone, brick or wood to support an arch. May often be decorated with a carved head.


A decorative parapet with cranellations.


A font is the container for baptismal holy water typically situated at the west end of the church


This can either be an upper storey above the aisles of a church or a balcony overlooking the nave from the tower for example.


A projecting water spout usually of stone and  often carved into a human or mythical animal shape

Geometrical Tracery

From the late 13th and into the 14th century, tracery evolved into the decorated phase of tracery with styles known as Geometric, Curvilinear and Flamboyant. This was mainly due to the need for wider windows to admit more light. Characterised by an equilateral arch and between three, five, seven or even nine lights with increasingly complex tracery. Initially simple geometrical shapes such as circles and trefoils were used and this evolved into more complex shapes .

Intersecting Tracery

An extension to the simple tracery of Y-tracery during the 13th Century where two or more mullions are designed to intersect each other in curves at the head of the arch.


A lancet is a single-light pointed-arched window. Typically dating from around 1180-1250.


A space in a window normally filled with glass.


A vertical member between window lights.


The nave is the main body of the church to the west of the chancel, or, in larger churches  the crossing, often flanked by aisles.

Organ Loft

The organ loft is a gallery in which the organ keyboard, stops and pedals is situated. It also often includes many of the pipes but larger pipes may be placed in a more visible place.

Panel Tracery

Panel or Rectilinear tracery took the designs of reticulated tracery further adding horizontal transoms making for multiple panels of decoration across the window. Windows by this time were considerably wider. Panel tracery began to appear in the late 14th century and continued through the 15th and 16th centuries.


A parapet is a wall built to protect against a sudden drop, for example on a roof. It also serves to conceal a roof.


Typically a parvis is an enclosed space or courtyard in front of a building but the term is often used to describe the porch of a church or the room over it.

Perpendicular Style

An architectural style derived from late Gothic developed from the 1300’s until the early 16th century. It is characterised by larger windows with delicate vertical tracery.


A small basin usually set in the wall to the south of the altar, used for washing Mass vessels.


A small building protecting the door to the church, typically on the south side of the church but also found to the north and on occasion to the west.

Priest door

A door often built into the north or south sides of the chancel allowing access for the priest.


A raised and enclosed platform for the preaching of sermons.

Reticulated Tracery

Over time, geometrical tracery evolved through the double curving and flame like  ogee forms (a continuous double curve like an S) to form a lattice of circular based ogee forms. This was more common in the 14th Century

Rectilinear Tracery

See Panel Tracery


The triangular area formed by an arch and the outer frame of a window or doorway. Often decoratively carved.


An opening or aperture in a wall allowing a view of an altar from an aisle.

Stair Turret

A circular or polygonal turret on the outside of a church tower containing a spiral staircase allowing access to the various levels of the tower. Often protrudes above the tower itself allowing access to the roof directly rather than through a trap door.


A pattern of decorative ornamental stone moldings particularly at the head of a window. Various styles exist and are useful in identifying the age of the window if not the church itself as the windows are often replaced over time.


A horizontal member between window lights.


The transverse portion of a larger church in the north south direction forming the crossing .


Room within or attached to the church in which the dress worn by the clergy are kept. Parish registers and church plate are also often kept in the vestry.


A form of window tracery developed from the mid 13th century to divide a narrow window into two vertical lights and a smaller top light. Later developed into intersecting tracery.