What does it mean?

 The proper description for this page is a ‘Glossary of terms’ and for anyone visiting one of our Churches it is useful to have a reference to use as a guide to the architecture, layout and individual items to be viewed and enjoyed.




In a church the aisles are generally the areas to the north and south of the nave, separated from it by an arcade.


The table located in the east end of the church at which Holy Communion (the eating of bread and drinking of wine in accordance with the instructions of Jesus at the Last Supper) is celebrated.

Anglo-Saxon (7th century to 1066)

Saxon architecture is characterised by thick walls, with very thin, rounded windows, and masonry arranged at corners in an alternating ‘long-short’ pattern.


A series of connected arches.


Small cupboard in a church wall, historically used for storing items used in communion.

Box Pew

A pew with high sides of equal height entered by a door, typical of the 18th century. Capital The carved head of a pillar or column.


The Leper window at Snelland. When you visit, discover its story.

The east end of the church containing the altar.


An upper storey composed only of windows.


A small dome forming a roof or ceiling.

Decorated Gothic Architecture

(c1250-c1350) Decorated Gothic is the second phase of English gothic architecture. As the name suggests it is richly and elaborately embellished with carvings and, originally, paintwork. Characteristic features include complex curving and geometric tracery to windows, and the use of an ‘ogee’ arch (an arch which curves inwards and then outwards).

Early English Gothic Architecture

The first phase of gothic architecture in this country is known as Early English. Buildings from throughout the period c1170-c1250 often fall within this stylistic framework. It is typified by ‘lancet’ windows (tall, narrow, single opening windows which come to a single point with no internal divisions), pointed arches, stiffleaf capitals, and ribbed vaulting.


Often in the form of a basin mounted on a pedestal; used for the baptism of children and adults.


The period 1714-1837, which includes the reign of William IV (1830-1837).


Art and architecture of the mid to late medieval period (12th to 16th centuries). Gothic architecture appeared first in France in the 1140s. It is traditionally characterised by pointed arches. These arches distribute weight more efficiently, allowing taller, lighter and more spacious buildings.

Gothic Revival

A style of architecture and design, beginning around the middle of the eighteenth century and attaining enormous popularity in the 19th century, that emulates the ‘pointed’ architecture of the 12th to 16th centuries.


Large, diagonal plaque with a deceased person’s heraldic arms, carried at the funeral and then hung in the church.


The period of European history between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (5th to 16th centuries).


The main body of the church, usually from the West door to the chancel, excluding any aisles. The nave belongs to the people and comes from the Latin term ‘naves’ meaning boat, reflecting the ark of Noah which protected God’s people.


Art and architecture which emulates the styles of Ancient Greece and Rome, most prevalent in English churches in the 17th to 19th centuries.

Norman Architecture

The Romanesque architecture which arrived in England with the Norman Conquest (1066 to the late 12th/early 13th centuries).


Relating to Easter.

Perpendicular Gothic (c1340-16th century)

During the late 14th century, English gothic architecture became more vertical and linear. The term ‘Perpendicular’ highlights the use of rectangular panels rather than the flowing tracery of the Decorated period. Most Perpendicular architecture can be identified by repetitive thin vertical panels used in windows, masonry, and in the striking ‘fan vaulting’ developed at this time.


A picture or sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ on her lap or in her arms.


A basin set within the wall near to an altar, used in medieval services to wash the utensils of the mass and the hands of the priest.


Carved ornament of leaves, often fleur-de-lys, on pew ends.


An enclosed platform from which sermons may be preached. These gained in popularity and significance following the Reformation.


A painted or sculpted screen covering the wall behind and above an altar.


The architecture of the late 10th to late 12th centuries. Though emulating the Christian architecture of Rome it is not a ‘Classical’ style. Typical features include rounded arches and thick-wall construction.

Rood Screen

An open-work screen separating the nave from the chancel and supporting a large cross (called a ‘Rood’ by the Anglo-Saxons).


Seating set within the wall near to an altar for use by ministers during mass, often elaborately carved.


The web of stonework found in a window.


In cruciform (cross-shaped) churches, transepts are the areas that extend to the north and south immediately before the chancel.


From 1485-1603.


The period from 1837-1901.–