Built In Art magazine


Classical Architecture


Architecture Dictionary: C


A British word for the Roman castrum, the Saxon cereen, or cherten, a fortress, a walled town, etc. It forms part of the names of several Welsh towns, as Caernarvon, Caerphily, Caerdiff, Caerleon, etc.


a Norman moulding, much used in the later period of that style

norman cable-moulding


the flutes of columns in classical architecture are said to be cabled when they are partly filled by cylinders.


A species of stone obtained from quarries near Caen, in Normandy, and often employed in England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, in building churches and castles.


the sunk panels in flat or vaulted ceilings, or in soffits.


pipes or canals, disposed in or along the walls of houses, for conveying hot air to distant apartments, from a com-mon or central furnace, as practised by the ancients. This method has been adopted in modern buildings, with success and economy.


the bell of the Corinthian capital.


a bell-tower; sometimes detached from the church.


an ornamented projection over doors, windows, niches, &c. Canopies are chiefly used in the two later styles of Gothic, although a straight-sided canopy sometimes occurs in Early English niches. Decorated canopies are sometimes triangular, sometimes of an ogee form, others more spiral, and generally richly ornamented with crockets and finials. Perpendicular canopies are of endless variety, but generally flat at the top, and either battlemented, or with a row of the Tudor flower in place of a battlement, but sometimes spiral, with slender pinnacles, more or less numerous.

Tomb canopy, Hereford cathedral



angular, polygonal; canted off, sloped off, or chamfered


trusses placed under the modillions in a frieze.


the head of a column. In classical architecture the five orders have their respective capitals ; but in Egyptian, Indian, Norman, and Gothic architecture, they are endlessly diversified. In the Pointed styles they are generally very elegantly formed, even when comparatively plain, as at Norwich and Beverley : they are often richly sculptured, as at York. A volume might be filled with examples of the different varieties of Norman and Gothic capitals. Norman capitals generally approximate the cushion shape, with a square abacus above: some are round, but there is extreme variety of design in the ornaments : they are generally decorated with mouldings, but some are entirely covered with sculpture; others exhibit rude imitations of the Corinthian and Ionic capitals. Early English capitals are simple in comparison with those of a later style; often bell-shaped, with a bead-moulding round the neck, and a capping with a series of mouldings above: a very elegant and beautiful capital is sometimes formed of sculptured foliage.

Decorated capitals are either bell-shaped, clustered, or octagonal, to correspond with the shape of the piers: but the cap-mouldings are more numerous than in the earlier style. In the Perpendicular style there is frequently no capital, the mouldings running from the base entirely round the arch. This is also the case in the later Gothic styles of France and Germany.

column capital



those which run round the upper part of the capital.


a small closet in a cloister, to sit and read in ; so called from the carols or sentences inscribed on the walls. " In every window of the cloyster were three pews or carrols: every one of the old monks had a carrol severally to himself, to which they resorted, and there studied their books." Antiquities of Durham.


the blocks or modillions supporting the eaves of a house.


Kind of order in Architecture, in which a female figure is applied instead of a pillar: the origin of which is thus handed down by Vitruvius: the inhabitants of Caria, a city of Peloponnesus, made a league with the Persians against their own nation ; but the Persians being worsted, they were afterwards besieged by the victorious party, their city taken and reduced to ashes, the men put to the sword, and the women carried away captives. To perpetuate the memory of this victory, the conquerors caused public edifices to be erected, in which, as a mark of degra¬dation and servility, the figures of the captives were used instead of columns, thus handing down to posterity their merited servility and punishment. When figures of the male sex are used, they are called Persians or Perses.

cariatides 1883 Marseille
Caryatides in Marseille, France, 1883. The four parts of the world


a light, or compartment within the mullions of a window : a frame enclosing part of the glazing of a window, with hinges to open and shut: also the name given to a deep hollow moulding, similar to the scotia or trochilus of Italian architecture. William of Worcester distinguishes some varieties  of the casement,—as a casement with leaves, with trayles, (tendrils, or stalks), a lowering casement, (a drip.)


a citadel, or fortified dwelling


is used by Leland for a building containing a well or the cistern of a fountain or water conduit: this rather resembled a small chapel, than a tower.



a perpendicular line through the centre of the volute of an Ionic capital.


appropriate to Norman architecture, used principally in the later and richer specimens of that style.


the little twists or volutes under the flower on the abacus in the Corinthian capital, representing the twisted tops of the acanthus stalks


the inner court of a Roman house.


small concave moulding of one quarter of a circle, used in the Grecian and other styles


the audience part of an ancient theatre.


inner surface of the roof of a building or room, concealing the timbers.


the enclosed space within the walls of an ancient temple.


hollow spaces between the ribs of a groined roof: also the small sleeping rooms of the monks.


burying ground.


cup used at the altar, usually of silver or gold, richly chased and enamelled.



room, or apartment: in ancient surveys distinguished from the hall, chapel, etc.. The great chamber usually adjoined to the hall, and answered to the modern drawing room, or withdrawing room.


sloping surface. "A champ."


ampler stone-work, canted or sloped off, at the angles of an arch, etc. " All the champes about the letter to be abated and hatched curiously to set out the letters."


the eastern part of a church, generally divided from the nave by a screen or railing, (cancellus) from which the name is derived.


flutings, grooves, or furrows in a pillar; called also Canals.


sepulchral chapel, in which masses for the dead were chanted. From the practice which prevailed in the twelfth-and following century, amongst wealthy and influential individuals, of bequeathing their bodies to some particular church for interment, with donations of a more substantial nature, originated the foundation of altars, exclusive of that in the chancel, at which masses might be sung for the repose of the dead: the portion thus set apart, which was generally the east end of one of the aisles, was then denominated a chantry; in it the tomb of the founder was commonly placed, and it was separated from the rest of the church by a latticed screen or division, traces of which still remain in some of our ancient churches. In the fourteenth century this custom greatly increased; and small additional side-aisles or transepts were often annexed to churches, endowed indeed as chantries, but erected also for the purpose of sepulture; these contained the tombs of the founder, and others of his family, there buried. Hence arose the construction, about the close of the same century, of small mortuary chapels, or chantries, between the lofty piers of conventual and cathedral churches. Such are the chantries of William of Wykeham, Cardinal Beaufort, and Bishop Waynflete, in Winchester Cathedral. Similar chapels, or chantries, were sometimes erected to the memory of a popular saint; it was then called a shrine, as that of St. Frideswide


small buildings attached to various parts of large churches or cathedrals, and separately dedicated : also detached buildings for divine service. In former times chapels were often granted in the court-house or manor-house of the patron of a church, as a privilege to himself and family; or for the benefit of one or more families who lived remote from the parish church : at the consecration there was commonly some fixed endowment given to it.


" the pillars and chapetrels that the arches and pendants shal rest upon." contract for Fotheringbay


apartment for the assembly of a Dean and Chapter to transact business.


to hew, to work: Charred stone, hewn stone. The will of Henry VI. orders the chapel of his new college in Cambridge to be " vawted and chare-roffed that is, the whole roof to be of wrought stone, and not the ribs only, as was frequently practised.


ornament characteristic of No¬man architecture; but sometimes found with the pointed arch, during   the later period of the Norman style, and the transition to Early English: there are a few rare instances at a still later period, as at Bloxham Church, Oxfordshire.


the apse, or east end of a choir, Behind the high altar; frequently polygonal or semi-circular : this form is com¬paratively rare in England, but very frequent in France and Italy, and universal in Germany. The term is French, and was first used in English by Mr. Whittington, in his Ecclesi¬astical Antiquities of France, published in 1807.


in our ancient domestic architecture, commonly known by the name of Elisabethan, since most of the specimens that remain are of the date either of her reign, or that of James I. The chimneys are frequently a very ornamental feature, and may be considered as columns adapted to the purpose. They are found both single, and in clusters, and in a variety of forms, any of them more ornamental than the shapeless masses of bricks that have succeeded them. They do not appear to have been invented or introduced much before the time of Henry VIII. " One thing I much noted in the Haulle of Bolton, how Chime- neys were conveyed by Tunnels made on the Syds of the Wauls, betwixt the Lights in the Haulle; and by this means, and by no Covers, is the smoke of the Harthe in the Hawle wonder strangely conveyed." Previously to this period the smoke was suffered to escape from the louvre (or cover) in large halls and kitchens, the fire being made of logs of wood laid on iron or brass dogs in the centre of the room ; but in the smaller rooms fire-places were built: the arches, or chimney-pieces, as they are called, often remain, but the chimney was carried up only a few feet, when an aperture was left in the well for the smoke to escape; and there was frequently a window immediately over the fire-place. 


partake of the architectural character of the rest of the building, and of the age, and often remain when no other traces can be found.



the chancel of collegiate or cathedral churches; the space between the nave and the high altar, eastward of the cross, when the church is built in that form. " Joining to the Quire, of the same hight and brede that the said Quire is of." Contract for Fotheringhay. " The Kirke and Quere of Katrik." Contract for Catteriek.


ring or fillet on the top and bottom of the shaft of a column.


ornament, foliation, or tracery, representing the five leaves of a flower: also closely resembling the leaves of clover, which is called in French CINQUE-FEUILLE.—See Cusp.


a Roman theatre for public games.


covered Greek temple, in contradistinction to Hypoethral.


Cleraftorg, the old spelling of ' clear-story;' the upper story or row of windows in a Gothic church. " And the clear-story both withyn and without shal be made of clene Ashelar growndid upon ten mighty pillars." The term applies also to the windows in the lantern of the tower, or steeple.


the common sewers at Rome, remarkable for their solidity and grandeur: they admitted of large boats passing through them, for the purpose of cleansing. The most celebrated of these drains was the CLOACA MAXIMA, the construction of which is attributed to Tarquinius Priscius. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, also called Tarquin the Elder , was the legendary fifth King of Rome from 616 BC to 579 BC.


a clock-house, or bell-tower; anciently an insulated building. The tower of Magdalen College, Oxford, was built originally as a clochard, and was detached.

Magdalen college tower oxford
Magdalen College tower

The period when clocks were invented is involved in the obscurity of what are called the dark ages: they are mentioned about the year 840, when Rabanus Maurus is said to have sent a clock and a bell to his friend; but they were probably very imperfect for several centuries after that period, and gradually brought to greater perfection. The custom of having faces or dial plates to clocks is of much later origin, and did not come into general use until a comparatively recent period; as we have numerous examples of sundials erected even in the seventeenth century, and they were then much more commonly used than clocks. The large round faces with staring gilt numerals with which so many ancient bell-towers are now disfigured, were mostly erected in the last century, There are a few ancient examples in which the figures are ingeniously introduced in the tracery of a Catherine-wheel window, the effect of which is very elegant, and forms a singular contrast to the shining circles of modern days.


Clotetre, a monastery, or monastic building, usually of four equal sides, enclosing a quadrangular area, with a covered passage round, the roof of which is commonly, but not always, of groined stone.


covered galleries of communication between the different parts of a monastic building; now frequently, but incorrectly, used for an arcade or piazza round a quadrangle. The cloisters of our cathedrals have usually no building over them, and some colleges have similar cloisters attached to them, as New College. " And in the south side of the cloystre-vtaxd another porche joining to the said cloystre." Antiquitiea of Durham. Cloister-garth, the space enclosed by a cloister.


the confines of a cathedral, usually enclosed with a wall. Closet, a small chamber, or private room: also the small chapels down the sides of a Gothic church or cathedral.


Pier which appears to consist of several columns clustered together.


deep panel in a ceiling: the same as Caisson.


appear to have been generally made of stone in the eleventh and twelfth centuries: they are usually of one solid piece, with sufficient space for the reception of the body cut out, and are rather wider at the head, sloping gradually to the feet. Stone coffins of this kind are continually dug up in old burying grounds in all parts of the country, and are also frequently found in churches, where they were usually placed under low arches in the wall, but have generally been removed from this situation; indeed, few old churches are without empty sepulchral recesses of this description. The lids of the stone coffins were at first merely coped, afterwards more ornamented, until the whole was changed into the elaborate altar-tomb of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries


from colunma Lat., a column; colonnata, Ital.; a range, or series of insulated columns supporting an entablature, or a succession of open arches : one of the most imposing works of architectural design. Colonnades are various in form, design, and application, and are composed of an indefinite number of columns. In temples and porticoes, where a colonnade of four columns support the entablature, the temple is termed tetrastyle; when six, hexastyle; when eight, octastyle; and when ten, decastyle. When the colonnade is in the front of, and projecting from, a building, it is termed a portico; when it surrounds a building, a peristyle; and when it is double, as in many of the ancient temples, it is called polystyle. The ancient Egyptians employed the colonnade as an ornament for the interior of their temples to a great extent. The Greek temples present many colonnades of great beauty and simplicity in their arrangement; but there is not any evidence that the Grecian architects ever employed coupled, grouped, or clustered columns, in any of their works.

baalbeck temple of jupiter

The ruins of Palmyra and Baalbeck, the Temple of Jupiter Olympius, at Elis, and the splendid ruins of the Parthenon, at Athens, with the magnificent Temple of Neptune, at Psestum, afford, perhaps, the finest known examples of external colonnades in the world. The celebrated wings, or colonnades of San Pietro, at Rome, erected by Bernini, consisting of 280 columns, each 40 feet in height, are considered the finest architectural works of the kind in Europe. (See COLUMN, PORTICO, TEMPLE.)


the holes left in walls for the insertion of pieces of timber, resembling pigeon-holes.



round pillar: the term includes the base, shaft, and capital; the proportions vary according to the style or order: the term is also now applied to the piers in Norman and Gothic architecture; in the Norman style they are generally circular, sometimes square or octagonal, and very massive. In the Pointed style they become gradually lighter, till in the later periods the lightness of the clustered column appears almost marvellous; but much of the appearance is deceptive, as at Winchester the clustered columns actually incase the early Roman pier, yet they do not appear to the eye to be half the thickness [See --->].




portion of the centre aisle, (nave or choir of a church) consisting of one arch or one window in length, and of the breadth of the centre aisle.


open timber roof; meaning that the timbers of the roof form a sort of arch, by the inclination of the braces.


called also Roman, being invented by that people, and composed of the Ionic, grafted upon the Corinthian : it is of the same proportion as the Corinthian, and in all respects retains the same character, with the only excep¬tion of having the addition to the capital of the Ionic volutes and echinus, instead of the cau licoli and scrolls.


An archway which may either be considered as a single arch decorated with a quantity of mouldings disposed in succession on its slanting surface, and supported by a group of shafts and moulded pier edges; or which may be resolved into a number of concentric archways, successively placed within and behind each other: in the latter view the whole may be called a compound arch, archway, or piers; the term archway of course including the arch and its piers or uprights'.

The doors of Iffley, Steetley, Southwell, St. Martin's, Leicester, the Divinity School and Balliol College, Oxford, have all compound arches. Concha, the concave ribless surface of a vault.


reservoir of water, frequently richly ornamented with sculpture, &c. as the celebrated one which formerly stood at Carfax, in Oxford. A noble sprynge, a ryall conduyte-hede, " Made of fine gold, enameled with reed."


recess in a church, where the priest was seated to hear the confession of penitents. We have very few of them remaining in this country. On the Continent they are usually wooden erections of modern date, resembling a sentry-box divided into two parts, with a latticed window in the partition. There is a singular Confessional in the porch of St. Mary, Redcliff, Bristol: the seat for the priest is within the thickness of the wall, and there is merely a small round hole for the penitent to whisper through. Similar openings through the wall remain in many churches, and have evidently been used for the same purpose.


ornamented block projecting from a wall, or the key-stone of an arch, to support a bust, etc.


top or covering of a wall or roof, made sloping to throw off water.


carved work, representing a basket with fruits or flowers, serving as a finish to some other ornament.


short piece of timber or stone let into a wall half its length or more, to carry a weight above it projecting from the general face of the work: it is carved in various fanciful ways. In Italian architecture the most common form is that of an ogee; in Gothic architecture they are most frequently carved in the form of a head, or resemble the capital of a column. They are frequently extremely grotesque; but vary considerably at different periods both in subject and execution, according to the taste of the age. The heads of Edward III. and his queen Philippah are frequent in buildings of that era; and some allusion to the reigning monarch is generally to be found not only in these but in other Gothic ornaments, as in the Tudor flower, etc.. Chaucer mentions " Corbelles and imagines" amongst the architectural ornaments of the House of Fame,


a row of corbels supporting a parapet, or projection from the wall. "In height 120 feet to the corbel table" Will of Henry VI. In the contract for Fotheringhay they are called simply the table stones. " Both in table-stones and crestis, with a square embattailment thereupon."


a Scotch term for the steps up the sides of a gable: a form frequently found in old houses, particularly in the fine old cities of Flanders and Holland, where they pro¬duce a very picturesque effect,


the lightest and most ornamental of the three Grecian orders: it possesses the highest degree of richness and detail that architec¬ture attained under the Greeks. The entablature of this order is somewhat more ornamented than the Ionic, having an additional band of modillions in the cornice; the frieze is plain, with an architrave divided into three fasciae by astragals, and is surmounted by a cymatium. The column is generally fluted, and somewhat more slender than the Ionic, with a peculiar base, called attic, composed of three tori and scotise, divided by fillets, and stands on a square plinth. Its capital is bell-shaped, surrounded by two tiers of acanthus or olive leaves, (the distinctive mark of the order) covered with a scooped abacus, between which and the leaves. [SEE--->]


From the Italian cornice meaning "ledge". In ancient architecture the upper part of the entablature, commencing, at the frieze: each order has its particular cornice. In Norman, Gothic, and domestic architecture, the highest course projecting from a wall. In the Norman style, the cornice is frequently only a plain face of parapet, of the same projection as the buttresses; but a row of blocks is often placed under it, sometimes plain, sometimes carved in grotesque heads, and in some instances the heads support small arches, usually circular, but in some cases tri* angular, as at Iffley, when it is called a corbel table: a plain string is also sometimes used as a cornice. In the Early English style, the cornice is sometimes rich in mouldings, and often with an upper slope, making the face of the parapet perpendicular to the wall below: there are cornices of this style still resembling the Norman projecting parapet, but they consist of several mouldings. The hollow moulding of the cornice is generally plain, seldom containing flowers or carvings, except the toothed ornament; but under the mouldings there is often a series of small arches, resembling the corbel table. In the Decorated style, the cornice is very regular; and though in some large buildings it has several mouldings, it principally consists of a slope above, and a deep sunk hollow, with an astragal under it: in these hollow .flowers at regular distances are often placed, and in some large buildings, in towers, etc.. there are frequently heads, and the cornice almost filled with them. In the Perpendicular style, the cornice is often composed of several small mouldings, sometimes divided by one or two considerable hollows, not very deep: in plain buildings, the cornice mouldings of the preceding style are frequently adhered to; but it is more often ornamented in the hollow with flowers, &c. and sometimes with grotesque animals and human figures, as at Magdalen College, Oxford. In the latter period of this style, something very analagous to an orna-mented frieze is perceived, of which the canopies to the niches in various works are examples: and the angels so profusely introduced in the later rich works are a sort of cornice ornaments" [SEE--->]


open passage or gallery in a large building.


large flat and strong member in a cornice, called also the Drip, or Larmier: its use is to screen the under parts of the work, and it has, consequently, a considerable projection. The under part of it is called the soffit


a platband or square fascia, the height of which is more than its projection.— Vitruvius.


part of a Greek palsestrum, or Roman gymnasium.


pair of spars for a roof; also used by heralds as a diminutive of the chevron. COURSE, Cortf, a single range of stones, or of brick. "A core without." (ornament.) "A core with an arch buttant."

COURT.—See Base Court.


manor-house, the residence of the Lord of the Manor; the court-close often retains its name long after the house has been destroyed.


arched ceiling, sometimes flattened at the top: this form is well calculated for the display of painted ceilings, and is much used in the new buildings at Munich, but is comparatively seldom employed in England.


old term for a louvre, or lantern; also for a canopy. " All which pictures (figures) were most artificially wrought in stone.... with a cover of stone likewise over their heads." Antiquities of Durham. " An olde kechyn with three covers covered with lede."


pantry: " one of the covie or pantry windows." Antiquities of Durham.


leave carved on the outward angles of Gothic pinnacles and canopies.® k See Plate XVL called by mistake Corbels. The example from St. Peter's is a Corbel- table; the others are merely Ornamental Cornices in the same situation, supporting the parapet » Plate XV. « See Crockets, Plate IX.


open parapets or battlements, with embrasures to shoot through.


used in Norman buildings.


Create, carved work, extending as a detached cor* nice along the top of a building: the copings of battlements and the finials of gables and pinnacles are also called crests. " A Crest of fine entail. ' '—Beauchamp Monument. " Both table-stones and crestes, with a square embattailment thereupon." Contract for Fotheringhay. "


ornamental tiles to cover the ridge of the roof.



detached flowers, or bunches of foliage, used to decorate the angles of spires, canopies, and pinnacles. The varieties are innumerable. The earliest crockets have a simple curve turning downward, closely resembling the head of the pastoral crook, as at the east end of Lincoln Cathedral: the second have the point of the leaf returned and pointing upward, as on Queen Eleanor's Crosses: in a few of the later Gothic buildings animals are seen creeping on the angles, in place of crockets, as in Henry the Seventh's Chapel, etc.


the usual symbol of the Christian religion. Most large churches and cathedrals are built in this form, with a lantern, tower, or spire, over the intersection. When the four sides are equal, it is called a Greek cross; otherwise a Latin cross. It is also a favorite and appropriate ornament for the point of the gables, buttresses, &c. of churches, and other ecclesiastical buildings; and is found in a great variety of elegant forms, The monumental buildings erected by Edward I. to the memory of Queen Eleanor were called Crosses, being surmounted by this emblem. There was formerly a Cross in every village and market town where public meetings were held and proclamations read; it was either in the church-yard, or at a point where several roads met, and in towns generally in the market-place. Many of these still remain, though generally in a dilapidated state.


that portion of a church where the transept crosses the nave.

CROSS-QUARTERS.—See Quatrefoils.


the transverse ribs of a groined roof.


the staff or insignia of a bishop, or mitred abbot, the head of which is in the form of a cross : it is usually cofounded with the pastoral staff, the head of which is in the form of a shepherd's crook; but both were carried in procession before the bishop on state occasions.


small ornamental cross, with the figure of our Saviour carved upon it. They are often beautiful pieces of sculpture, in wood, ivory, silver, or gold.


Cropt, a finial, the top of any thing. " From the erth-table to the crops, which finishes the stone work."


vault, usually under the eastern portion of a church or a castle, employed as a catacomb, or sometimes as a chapel, an oratory, a confessional, or a baptistery. That in St. Peter's Church, Oxford, is well known to the antiquary from the discussions to which it has given rise: that in Oxford Castle is scarcely less interesting, although it has been partly rebuilt, the original columns are preserved in their exact position.


gutter, groove, or channel.


, one division of the audience part of an ancient theatre.


spherical covering to a building: also a lantern on the top of a dome.


hall or apartment for courts of justice or legislature.


name given by Mr. Whewell to a peculiarly-formed capital, very common in Romanesque and Norman work. They consist of large cubical masses projecting considerably over the shaft of the column, and rounded off at the lower corners. Sometimes they are cleft below, so as to approach in form to two or more such round-cornered masses. They may be considered as rude imitations of the very projecting ovolo and thick abacus which compose the capital of the Grecian Doric. The capitals in the Arcade St. Aldate's Church, Oxford, are plain cushion capitals.


small arcs with which the parts of the tracery of Gothic windows, &c. are ornamented. The strict meaning of the word is confined to the ornaments at the points, from a supposed resemblance to the head of a spear, (Cuspis); but it is commonly used for the small arcs, which Mr. Willis proposes to call foils. Accordng to the number of them in immediate connection, they are called trefoils, quatrefoils, cinquefoils, septfoils, and multifoils. The cusps are some¬times feathered again, and this is called double feathering.' They were first introduced in the twelfth century. During a considerable time, it has been well observed by Milner, this ornament was only used occasionally, but in the end its use became universal. The addition of another cusp on each side of the pointed arch turned its trefoil head into a cinquefoil: in like manner, the introduction of four cusps into a plain circle formed a quatrefoil. William of Worcester calls these Gentese.


the most ancient mode of vault ing; called also a wagon, barrel, tunnel, or cradle roof.

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