Medieval Church Architecture (Shire Library)

Medieval Church Architecture (Shire Library)

Jon Cannon

Language: English

Pages: 96

ISBN: 0747812128

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


By the end of the medieval period, Britain's churches already had an architectural heritage of one thousand years, much of which remains on view today. This guide by architectural historian Jon Cannon uses high-quality photographs and diagrams to help us to analyze the leading changes in style from the Anglo-Saxon period, through the Romanesque as far as Gothic and Perpendicular. By identifying various clues left by each period, he enables us to date architectural features and styles, and explains the technical terms applied to them. If you have ever wondered how your church or cathedral developed, and want to know your triforium from your blind arcade or your vault from your hammerbeam, all the answers are here.

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lower ogee one – at the top of each light. Cusps become extremely elaborate: split cusps (a mouth-like opening with a cusp, most often seen in Kent), and sub-cusps (cusps within cusps, often seen thereafter), etc. One particularly common pattern, intersecting tracery, is diagnostic for Geometrical Decorated and sometimes seen in the second phase of the style, too. The aim in all these cases is to achieve effects of variety and surprise: in some memorable examples, such as Exeter Cathedral, each

straightening of the lines used in the window tracery and the emphatic transoms running across the window. To many at the time, these buildings might have seemed little more than further contributions to a series of one-off experiments. Yet the extent to which they reinvent the formal details of architecture, and the consistency of effect that results, had all the hallmarks of a new style. These were ideas that could be replicated and used in a wide variety of contexts. The façade of the porch

of timber. Also plank-like, and diagnostic, is the arrangement of straight, unmoulded pieces of stone into simple patterns, probably derived from those on timber-framed buildings and the shallow, flat, decorative columns sometimes seen in Classical architecture. These are called pilaster strips. Corners are often marked by sequences of very tall, thin pieces of stone alternating with flat ones, a technique known as long-and-short work, easy to diagnose only when it is very emphatic. Windows are

buildings often have a blocky, oddly primitive air, at once easy to recognise and hard to define. A row of windows separated by balusters at Earls Barton. A triangular-headed arch at St Peter, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire. By the 1150s and 60s Norman design had become lively and inventive, qualities exemplified by the range of capitals on this blank arcade in the chapter house at Bristol Cathedral, and the extraordinary abstract patterning of the wall above. NORMAN OR ROMANESQUE c. 1070

inventive carving) – would form the basic grammar from which the many different dialects of Gothic style were developed. Romanesque is thus a revolutionary turning point in the story of medieval architecture; the various transformations to come, though they were equally profound in the ways in which they changed the aesthetic qualities of a building, and contained many important technical innovations, were not fundamentally as significant. The west door at Iffley has three orders (and an outer,

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