1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > Glossary of Architectural Terms (Especially Classical and Mediaeval). H - P.

(Part 119)


H - P

HAGIOSCOPE, a term derived from the Greek, improperly used to describe certain oblique openings in the mediaeval buildings for the purpose of seeing the altar. (See SQUINT.)

HALL (Fr. Sale, salon, Ital. sala, salone, Ger. Saal), the principal apartment in the large dwellings of the Middle Ages used for the purposes of receptions, feast, &c. In the Norman castle the hall was generally in the keep above the ground floor, where the retainers lived, the basement being devoted to stores and dungeons for confining prisoners. Later halls, indeed some Norman halls (not in castles), are generally on the ground floor, as at Westminster, approached by a porch either at the end, as in this last example, or at the side, as at Guildhall, London, having at one end a raised DAIS (which see) or Estrade. The roofs are generally open, and more or less ornamented. In the middle of these was an opening to let out the smoke (see LOUVEE, FEMERELL), thought in later times the halls have large chimney places with funnels or chemney shafts for this purpose. At this period there were usually two deeply recessed bay windows at each end of the dais, and doors leading into the withdrawing –rooms or the ladies apartments; they are also generally wainscoted with oak, in small panels, to the height of five or six feet, the panels often being enriched. Westminster Hall was originally divided into three parts, like a nave and side aisles, as are some on the Continent.

HELIX (Gr. A wreath or ringlet), used synonymously with CAULICULUS, q.v., Its plural is Helices.

HERRING-BONE WORK, bricks or other materials arranged diagonally in building

HEXASTYLE (Gr. Six and a column0. A portico of six columns in front is of this description. Most of the churches in London which have porticoes have hexaprostyle.

HIGH ALTAR, the principal altar in a cathedral or church. Where there is a second, it is generally at the end of the choir or chancel, not in the Lady Chapel. At St Albana it stood at the end of the nave, close to the choir screen.

HIP-KNOB, the finial on the hip of a roof, or between the large boards of a gable.

HOOD-MOULD, a word used to signify the dripstone or label over a window or door opening, whether inside or out, but it seems more properly to be applied to the moudlings at the arris of the arch at the inner side of such opening. Sometimes these assume the form of a label, and have jamb-shafts. Frequently the soffit is slightly hollowed and finishes with an arris. (See DEIPSTONE, LABEL).

HOTEL DE VILLE (Ital. broletto, palazzo, communale), the town-hall or guild-hall, in France, Germany, and Northern Italy. The building in general serves for the administration of justice, the receipt of town dues, the regulation of markets, the residence of magistrates, barracks for police, prisons, and all other fiscal purposes. As may be imagined, they differ very much in different towns, but they have almost invariably attached to them, or closely adjacent, a large clock-tower (beffroi), containing one or more bells, for calling the people together on special occasions.

HOTEL DIEU (Fr. Maison dieu, Ital. ospedale, to spedale), the name for an hospital in mediaeval time. In England there are but few remains of these buildings, one of which is at Dover; abroad there are many. The most celebrated is the one at Angers, described by Parker. They do not seem to differ much in arrangement of plan from those in modern days – the accommodation for the chaplain, medicine, nurses, stores, &c., being much the same in all ages, except that in some of the earlier, instead of the sick being placed in long wards like galleries, as is now done, they occupied large buildings, with naves and side aisles like churches. The reader is referred to the works of Parker, Viollet-le Duc, and Verdier and Cattois, for further details.

HYPAETHROS. (Gr. Under, and the air), a temple open to the air, or uncovered. The term may be the more easily understood by supposing the roof removed from over the nave of a church in which columns or piers go up from the floor to the ceiling, leaving the aisles still covered.

HYPOGEA (Gr. Under and the earth), constructions under the surface of the earth, or in the sides of a hill or mountain

HYPOTRACHELIUM (Gr. Under and the neck), the moulding or the groove at the junction of the shaft with the capital of a column. In some styles the hypotrachelium is a projecting fillet or moulding, and in others, as the Doric, it is composed of a channel or groove, and sometimes of more than one.

ICHNOGRAPHY (Gr. A footstep or track and a description or representation), the drawing of a plan, or representation of the site of an object on a horizontal plane.

IMPOST, a term in classic architecture for the horizontal mouldings of piers or pilasters, from the top of the which the archivolts or mouldings which go round the arch spring. The word is scarcely applicable to mediaeval architecture, as the mouldings in general spring from the capital of a shaft, or from a corbel; or they continue without breaking down to the base, or still they are stopped by a chamfer or a regular base moulding, or they die into a plain shaft, or at any rate one of different section.

INTERCOLUMNIATION, the distance form column to column, the clear space between columns.

INTERPLACED ARCHES, arches where one passes over two openings, and they consequently cut or intersect each other.

IRON WORK, in mediaeval architecture, as an ornament is chiefly confined to the hinges, &c., of doors and of church chests, &c., Specimens of Norman iron work are very rare. Early English specimens are numerous, and very elaborate. In some instances not only do the hinges become a mass of scroll work, but the surface of the doors is covered by similar ornaments. In both these periods the design evidently partakes of the feeling exhibited in the stone or wood carving. In the Decorated period the scroll work is more graceful, and, like the foliage of the time, more natural. As styles progressed, there was a greater desire that the framing of the doors should be richer, and the ledges were chamfered or raised, then paneled, and at last the doors became a mass of scroll paneling. This, of course, interfered with the design of the hinges, the ornamentation of which gradually became unusual. In almost all styles the smaller and less important doors had merely plain strap hinges, terminating in a few bent scrolls, and latterly in fleurs-de-lis. Escutcheon and ring handles, and the other furniture, partook more or less of the character of the time. On the Continent the knockers are very elaborate. At all periods doors have been ornamented with nails having projecting heads, sometimes square, sometimes polygonal, and sometimes ornamented with roses, &c. The iron work of windows is generally plain, and the ornament confined to simple fleur-de-lis heads to the stanchions. The iron work of screens enclosing tombs and chapels is noticed under GRILLE, q.v.

JAMB, the side-post or lining of a doorway or other aperture. The jambs of a window outside the frame are called Reveals.

JAMB=SHAFT. Small shafts to doors and windows with caps and bases; when in the inside arris of the jamb of a window they are sometimes called Esconsons.

JAMBETTE, a French term for the upright ashlar piece between the inside of the plate and the rafters.

JUBE, one of the names of the ambo or reading desk in the early Christian church. In later times, a term especially applied to the rood-loft or gallery over the screen, whence the words :Jube, Domine, benedicere," &c., were read.

KEEL-MOULDING, a round on which thee is a small fillet, somewhat like the keel of a ship. It is common in the Early English and Decorated styles.

KEEP (Fr. Donjon), the inmost and strongest part of a medieval castle, answering to the citadel of modern times. The arrangement is said to have originated with Gundulf, the celebrated bishop of Rochester. The Norman keep is generally a very massive square tower, the basement or stories partly below ground being used for stores and prisons. The main story is generally a great deal above ground level, with a projecting entrance, approached by a flight of steps and drawbridge. This floor is generally supposed to have been the guard-room or place for the soldiery; above this was the hall, which generally extended over the whole area of the building and is sometimes separated by columns; above this are other apartments for the residents. There are winding staircases in the angles of the buildings, and passages and small chambers in the thickness of the walls. The keep was intended for the last refuge, in case the outworks were scaled and the other building stormed. There is generally a well in a mediaeval keep, ingeniously concealed in the thickness of a wall, or in a pillar. The most celebrated of Norman times are the White Tower in London, the castles at Rochester, Arundel, and Newcastle Castle Hedingham, &c. the keep was often circular, as at Conisborought and Windsor.

KEY-STONE, in classic architecture the center voussoir of an arch, often ornamentedwith carving. In pointed architecture there is often no key-stone. For those to groined arches. See Boss.

KOB, KNOT, the bunch of flowers carved on a Corbel, or on a Boss.

LEBEL, the outer projecting moulding overdoors, windows arches &c., sometimes called Dripstone or Weather Moulding, or Hood Mould. The formerterms seem scarcely applicable, as this moulding is often found inside a building where no rain could come, and consequently there is no drip. The latter term is described under Hoop-Mould. In Norman times the label frequently did not project at all, and when it did it was very little, and formed part of the series of arch mouldings. In the early English styles they were not very large, sometimes slightly undercut, sometimes deeply, sometimes a quarter round with chamfer, and very frequently a "roll" or "scroll moulding," so called because it resembles the part of a scroll where the edge laps over the body of the roll. Labels generally resemble the string-courses of the periods, and, in fact, often return horizontally and form strings. They are less common in Continental architecture than in English. (See DRIPSTONE, HOOD-MOULD, STRING-COURSES).

LABEL TERMINATIONS, carving on which the labels terminated near the springing of the windows. In Norman times these were frequently grotesque heads of fish, birds, &c., and sometimes stiff foliage, as at Shoreham. In the Early English and Decorated periods they are often elegant knots of flowers, or heads of kings, queens, bishops, and other persons supposed to be the founders of churches. In the Perpendicular period they often finished with a short, square mitred return or knee, and the foliage are generally leaves of square or octagonal form.

LACUNAR (Lat.) a paneled or coffered ceiling or soffit. The panels or cassoons of a ceiling are by Vitruvius called lacunaria.

LANTERN (Lat. Laterna), a turret raised above a roof or tower, and very much pierced, the better or transmit light. In modern practice this term is generally applied to any raised part in a roof or ceiling containing vertical windows, but covered in horizontally. The name was also often applied to the louvre or femerell on a roof to carry off the smoke; sometimes, too, to the open constructions at the top of towers, as at Ely Cathedral, Boston in Lincolnshire, probably because lights were placed in them at night to serve as beacons.

LANTERNS OF THE DEAD, curious small slender towers, found chiefly in the center and west of France, having apertures at the top, where a light was exhibited at night to mark the place of a cemetery. Some have supposed that the round towers in Ireland may have served for this purpose.

LAVABO (Fr. Lavoir, Ital. lavatoio,) the lavatory for washing hands, generally erected in the cloister of monasteries. Those at Gloucester, Norwich and Lincoln are best known. A very curious one a Fontenay, surrounding a pillar, is given by Viollet-le Duc. In general it is a sort of trough, and in some places has an almery for towels, &c.

LICH GATE, a covered gate at the entrance of a cemetery, under the shelter of which the mourners rested with the corpse, while the procession of the clergy came to meet them. there is a very fine one at Ashwell, Herts.

LIERNE RIB, a rib crossing nearly horizontally from the ogive ribs to the tiercerons or the arcs doubleaux, or forming patterns in fan and stellar vaulting. (See GROINED VAULTING).

LIP MOULD, a moulding of the Perpendicular period like a hanging lip.

LOFT, the highest room in a house, particularly if in the roof; also a gallery raised up in a church to contain the rood, the organ, or singers.

LOOP HOLE (Fr. Archiere, meurtriere, Ital, feritoia), an opening in the wall of a building, very narrow on the outside, and splayed within, from which arrows or darts might be discharged on an enemy. They are often in the form of a cross, and generally have round holes at the ends. (See OYLETS.)

LOUVRE, a lantern upon the roof of a hall for the passage of the smoke, when the fire was made on the pavement in the middle. (See FEMERELL, LANTERN).

LUCARNE, a French term for a garret window; also used to signify the lights or small windows in spires.

LUFFERS (probably the same as Louvres), pieces of board, slate, or stone, placed slanting so as to exclude the rain, but to allow the passage of smoke, the sound of bells, &c.

LUNETTE, the French term for the circular opening in the groining of the lower stories of towers through which the bells are drawn up.

MACHICOLATION (Fr. Machicoulis), an opening between a wall and a parapet, formed by corbelling over the latter, so that the defenders of the building might throw down darts, stones, and sometimes hot sand, melted lead, &c., upon their assailants below.

MANOR HOUSE, the residence of the suzerain or lord of the manor; in France the central tower or keep of a castle is often called the manoir. (See KEEP).

MERLON, the solid part of a parapet between the embrasures of a battlement, sometimes pierced byloo-holes.

METOPE (Gr. A middle space) the square recess between the triglyphs in a Doric frieze. It is sometimes occupied by sculptures.

MEZZANINE (Ital. messanino, dim. Of mezzo, the middle), a low story between two lofty ones. It is called by the French entresol, or inter-story.

MINSTER (ger. Munster), probably a corruption of monasterium the large church attached to any ecclesiastical fraternity. If the latter be presided over by a bishop, it is generally called a Cathedral; if by an abbot, an Abbey; if by a prior, a Priory.

MISERERE (Fr. Misericorde, Ital. predella), a seat in a stall of a large church made to turn up and afford support to a person in a position between sitting and standing. He under side is generally carved with some ornament, and very often with strange grotesque figures caricatures of different persons. (See STALL).

MITR. A moulding returned upon itself at right angles is said to mitre. In joinery the ends of any two pieces of wood of corresponding form cut off at 45o necessarily abut upon one another so as to form a right angle, and are said to mitre.

MODILLION (Lat. Modulus, a measure of proportion), so called because of its arrangement in regulated distances, the enriched block or horizontal bracket generally found under the cornice of the Corinthian entablature. Less ornamented, it is sometimes used in the Ionic. (See also MUTULE).

MODULE (Lat. Modulus, from modus, a measure or rule). This is a term which has been generally used by architects in determining the relative proportions of the various parts of a columnar ordinance. The semidiameter of the column at its base is the module, which being divided into thirty parts called minutes, any part of the composition is said to be of so many modules and minutes, or minutes alone, in height, breadth, or projection. The whole diameter is now generally preferred as a module, it being a better rule of proportion than its half.

MONASTERY, a set of building adapted for the perception of any of the various orders of monks, the different parts of which are described in the separate article ABBEY.

MONOPTEROS (Gr. ___, one, or single, and, a wing). This term is used by Vitruvius to describe a temple composed of a circular range of columns supporting a tholus, cupola, or dome, but without walls. (See PERIPTEROS). Such an edifice would be more correctly designated as Cyclostylar. (See CYCLOSTYLE).

MONOTRIGLYPH (Gr. __ one, or single, and TRIGLYPH, q.v.) The intercolumniations of the Doric order are determined by the number of triglyphs which intervene instead of the number of diameters of the column as in other cases; and this term designates the ordinary intercolumniation of one triglyph.

MONUMENT, a name given to a tomb, particularly to those fine structures recessed in the walls of mediaeval churches.

MOSAIC (Lat. Opus musivum, Ital. musaico, Fr. Mosaique) pictorial representations, or ornaments formed of small pieces of stone, marble, enamel of various colours. In Roman houses the floors are often entirely of mosaic, the pieces being cubical. There are several fine specimens in Westminster Abbey, particularly the pavement of the choir.

MOULDING (Lat. Modulus, Ital. modantura, Fr. Moulure, Ger. Simswerk). When any work is wrought into long regular channels or projections, forming curves or rounds, hollows, &c., it is said to moulded, and each separate member is called a moulding. In mediaeval architecture the principal moulding are those of thearches, doors, windows, piers, &c. The remains of Saxon work are so few, that we can tell but little about these mouldings. The arches have sometimes a simple rib on them, sometimes are chamfered, and sometimes are quite plain. Early Norman work is much the same. By degrees, however, the arrises were finished by a round or bowtell. Later, hollows and rounds together became common, and the arches were set back one behind another, each being frequently supported by a jamb-shaft or column, though very often the arch mouldings continued down the jambs without any break. In the Early English style, the mouldings, for some time, like those of the preceding period, formed groups set back in squares; they are smaller, lighter, more graceful, and frequently very deeply undercut. The scroll moulding is also common. Small fillets now became very frequent in the outer parts of the rounds. This has often been called the keel moulding, from its resemblance in section to the bottom of a ship: sometimes also it has a peculiar hollow on each side like two wings. Later in the Decorated style the mouldings are more varied in design, though hollow and rounds still prevail. The undercutting is not so deep, fillets abound, ogees are more frequent, and the wave mould, double ogee, or double ressaunt, is often seen. In many places the strings and labels are a round, the lower half of which is cut off by a plain chamfer. The mouldings in the later styles in some degree resemble those of the Decorated, flattened and extended; they run more into one another, having fewer fillets, and being as it were less grouped. One of the principal features of the change is the substitution of one, or perhaps two (seldom more), very large hollows in the set of mouldings. These hollows are neither circular nor elliptical, but obovate, like an egg cut across, so that one-half is larger than the other. The brace mould also has a small bead, where the two ogees meet. Another sort of moulding, which has been called a lip mould, is common in parapets, bases, and weatherings. For the ancient moulding see the general article, supra.

MOULDINGS, ORNAMENTED. The Saxon and early Norman mouldings do not seen to have been much enriched, but the complete and later styles of Norman are remarkable for a profusion of ornamentation, the most usual of which is what is called the zig-zag. This seems to be to Norman architectural what the meander or fret was to the Grecian; but it was probably derived from the Saxons, as it is very frequently found in their pottery. Bezants, quatrfoils, lozenges, crescents, billets, heads of nails, are very common ornaments; besides these, battlements, cables, large ropes, round which smaller ropers are turned, or as our sailors say, "wormed," scallops, pellets, chains, a sort of conical barrels, quaint stiff foliages, beaks of birds, heads of fish, ornaments of almost every conceivable kind, are sculptured in Norman mouldings; and they are used in such profusion as has been attempted in no other style. The decorations on Early English mouldings are chiefly the dog-tooth, which is one of the great characteristics of this style, though it is to be found in the Transition Norman. It is generally placed in a deep hollow between two projecting mouldings, the dark shadow in the hollow contrasting in a very beautiful way with the light in these mouldings. In this period and in the next the tympanum over doorways, particularly if they are double doors, is highly ornamented. Those of the Decorated period resemble the former, except that the foliage is more natural, and the dog-tooth gives way to the ball-flower. Some of the hollow also are ornamented with rosettes set at intervals, which are sometimes connected by a running tendril, as the ball-flowers are frequently. Some very pleasing leaf-like ornaments in the labels of windows are often found in Continental architecture. In the Perpendicularly period the mouldings are ornamented very frequently by square four-leaved flowers set at intervals, but the two characteristic ornaments of the time are running patterns of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes in the hollows, which by old writers are called "vignettes in casements," and upright stiff leaves, generally called the Tidor leaf. On the Continent moulings partook much of the same character.

MULLION, MUNION, often corrupted into munting, (Fr. Meneau, Ital. regolo. Ger. Fensterpfoste.) The perpendicular pieces of stone, sometimes like columns, sometimes like slender piers, whichdivide the bays or lights of windows or screen work from each other. In all styles, in less important work, the mullions are often simply plain chamfered, and more commonly have a very flat hollow on each side. In larger buildings there is often a bead or bowtell on the edge, and often a single very small column with a capital; these are more frequent in foreign work than in English. Instead of the bowtell they often finish with a sort of double ogee. As tracery grew richer, the windows were divided by a larger order of mullion, between which came a lesser or subordinate set of mullions, which ran into each other.

MUTULE (Lat. Mutulus, a stay or bracket), the rectangular impending block under the corona of the Doric cornice, from which guttae or drops depend. Mutule is equivalent to modillion, but the latter term is applied more particularly to enriched blocks or brackets, such as those of Ionic and Corinthian entablatures.

NAOS (Gr. Vaos, a temple). This term is sometimes used instead of the Latin cella, as applied to the interior; strictly, however, it means the body of the edifice itself, and not merely its interior or cell.

NARTHEX (Gr. A ferula or rule), the long arcaded porch forming the entrance into the Christian basilica. Sometimes there was an inner narthex or lobby before entering the church. When this was the case, the former was called exo-narthex, and the latter eso-narthex. In the Byzantine churches this inner narthex from part of the solid structure of the church, being marked off by a wall or row of columns, whereas in the Latin churches it was usually formed only by a wooden or other temporary screen.

NAVE (Lat. Navius, Ital. navata, Fr/ nef, Ger. Schiff,) the central part between the arches of a church, which formerly was separated from a chancel or choir by a screen. It is so called from its fancied resemblance to a ship. In the nave were generally placed the pulpit and font. Abroad it often also contains a high altar, but this is of rare occurrence in England. Instances of this, however, are to be found at Durham and St. Albans.

NECKING, the annulet or round, or series of horizontal mouldings, which separates the capital of a column from the plain part or a shaft. In Norman work they are often corded.

NEWEL (Fr. Noyau, Ital. albero d’una scala, Ger. Spindel), in mediaeval architecture, the circular ends of a winding staircase which stand over each other, and form a sort of cylindrical column.

NICHE (Fr. Niche, Ital. nicchia, Gr. Nische), a recess sunk in a wall, generally for the reception of a statue. They sometimes are terminated by a simple label, but more commonly by a canopy, and with a bracket or corbel for the figure, in which case they are often called tabernacles.

OCTASTYLE (Gr. Eight, and a column), a portico of eight column in front.

OGEE (Lat. Cyma reversa. Ital. gola dritta, gola a rovescio, Fr. Cimaise, doucine, gorge gueule, gueule renversee, talon. Ger. Hohlleisten), the name applied to a moulding, partly a hollow and partly a round, and derived no doubt from its resemblance to an O place over a G. It is rarely found in Norman work, and is not very common in Early English. It is frequent use in the Decorated, where it becomes sometimes double, and is called a wave moulding; and later still, two waves are connected with a small bead, which is then called a bracemoulding. In ancient MSS. it is called a RESSAUNT, q.v.

OGIVE, a term applied by the French to the pointed arch. OGIVE RIB, the main ribs which cross each other on the intersection of the vaulting. (See GROINED VAULTING.)

ORATORY (Fr. Oratoire), a small chapel or place for prayer for the use of private individuals, generally attached to a mansion, and sometimes to a church. The name is also given to small chapels built to commemorate some special deliverance.

ORDER. A column with its entablature and stylobate is so called. The term, is the result of the dogmatic laws deduced from the writings of Vitruvius, and has been exclusively applied to those arrangements which they were thought to warrant. For the different details of an order, see Plate XXIV., fig. 1

ORDER, the name given to the subordinate mullions and tracery which are of smaller size than others in the same window, &c. It is also applied to the groups of mouldings arranged on square faces set back behind one another in Norman and Early English work, and not cut in on the splayed faces of the jambs and arch moulds as in subsequent periods.

ORDINANCE, a composition of some particular order or style. It need not be restricted to a columbar composition, but applies to any species which is subjected to conventional rules for its arrangement.


ORTHOGRAPHY (Gr. Straight or true, and a description or representation), a geometrical elevation of a building or other object, in which it is represented as it actually exists or may exist, and not perceptively, or as it would appear.

ORTHOSTYLE (Gr. Straight or true, and acolumn), any straight range of columns. This is a term suggested to designate what is generally but improperly called PERISTYLE, q.v. that is, columns in a straight row or range, but not forming a portico.


OVOLO (from the Ital, meaning egg-formed), the name most commonly applied to the moulding which appears to have originated in the mouled head of the Doric column and which with an abacus, formed its capital.

OYLEMENTS, a word used in the Beauchamp Roll, signifying the small quatrefoil lights in the head of a Perpendicular window.

OYLETS, OR OIELLETS, a name sometimes applied to the arrow-slits in towers, &c.; but it seems more probable its strict meaning is the round hole or circle with which these terminate.

PACE. The landing on a broad step in a stair; also any stage raised above the floor.


PANE, probably a diminutive of pannenau, a term applied to a bay of a window, compartment of a partition, side of a tower, turret, &c. (See BAY).

PANEL (Fr. Pannaeau, Ital. quadrettom formello, Ger. Feld), properly the piece of wood framed within the style and rails of a door, filling up the aperture, but often applied both to the whole square frame and the sinking itself; also to the ranges of sunken compartments in cornices, corbel, tables, groined, vaults, ceilings, &c. In Norman work these recesses are generally shallow, and more of the nature of arcades. In Early English work the square panels are ornamented with quatrefoils, cusped, circles, &c., and the larger panels are often deeply recessed, and form niches with trefoil heads and sometimes canopies. In the Decorated style the cusping and other enrichments of panels become more elaborate, and they are often filled with shields, foliages, and sometimes figures. Towards the end of this period the walls of important buildings were often entirely covered with long or square panels, the former frequently forming niches with statues. The use of panels in this way became very common in Perpendicular work, the wall frequently being entirely covered with long, short, and square panels, which latter are frequently richly cusped, and filled with every species of ornament, as shields, bosses of foliage, portcullis, lilies, Tudor roses, &c. Wooden panellings very much resembled those of stone, except in the Tutor period, when the panels were enriched by a varied design, imitating the plaits of a piece of linen or a napkin folded in a great number of parallel lines. This is generally called the linen pattern. Wooden ceilings, which are very common, are composed of thin oak boards nailed to the rafters, collars, &c., and divided into panels by oak mouldings fixed on them, with carved bosses at the intersections.

PARADISE, PARVISE, PARVYCE, a word of uncertain origin, but supposed to be a corruption of paradises, an enclosed garden. Paradises were open places surrounded with an enceinte or stone parapet in front of cathedrals or other great buildings, and probably were used to keep the people from pressing on and confusing the marshalling of the public processions. That at Notre Dame, at Paris, is of irregular shape; that at Amiens was round. Nothing of the kind is left in England, though, from a passage in Chaucer, it is supposed there was one in the front of Wesminster Hall. The Promptorium Parvulorum calls a parvise parlatorium, a place for conversation. The smallcahmbers over porches have also been named parvises. The irregularly-shaped cloister at Chichester is still called a paradise.

PARAPET (from the Italian parapetto, something which comes against the breast, i.e. to lean against, Fr. Parapet, Ger. Brustwehre), a dwarf wall along the edge of a roof, or round a lead flat, terrace walk, &c., to prevent persons from falling over, and as a protection to the defenders in case of a siege. Parapets are either plain, embattled, perforated, or paneled. The last two are found in all styles except the Norman. Plain parapets are simply portions of the wall generally overhanging a little, with a coping at the top and corbel table below. Embattled parapets are sometimes paneled, but oftener pierced for the discharge of arrows, &c. Peforated parapets are pierced in various devices-as circles, trefoils, quatrefoils, and other designs – so that the light is seen through. Paneled parapets are those ornamented by a series of panels, either oblong or square, and more or lessen enriched, but are not perforated. These are common in the Decorated and Perpendicular periods.

PARASCENIUM, in a Greek theatre, the wall at the back of the stage.

PARASTAS (Gr. Standing before), an end pilaster, the Greek term for which the Latin antoe is generally used. (See ANTAE).

PARCLOSE, a word for any enclosure to a chantry, tomb, &c.

PAREMENT, a French term for the outside ashlar or casing of a rubble wall, which is tied together by through or bond stones. (See PERPENT.)

PARGETTING, a species of plastering decorated by impressing pattern on it when wet. These seem generally to have been made by sticking a number of pins in a board in certain lines or curves, and then pressing on the wet plaster in various directions, so as to form geometrical figures. Sometimes these devices are in relief, and in the time of Elizabeth represent figures, birds, foliages, &c.; fine examples are to be seen at Ipswich, Maidstone, Newark, &c., The word (which is Latinised gypsacio in the Promptorium) may be derived from the old French giter, to cast, to throw, as outside plastering is often thrown against the laths to make it adhere better. (See ROUGH CAST.)


PATIN, PATAND, form the French patin, a wooden sole, clog, or patten. The sills in timber-framing are thus named in some old works, though modern French authors call them sablieres.

PEDESTAL. An insulated stylobate is for the most part so called. The term is moreover, generally applied to any parallel to any parallelogramic or cylindrical mass, used as the stand or support of any single object, as a statue or vase.

PEDIMENT, that part of a portico, which rises above its entablature to enclose the end of the roof, whose triangular form it takes. The cornice of the entablature, or its corona, and part of the bed mould only, with the addition of a cymatium, bounds its inclined sides, and gives it an obtuse angles at the apex. In Pointed architecture, however, the angle of a pediment is for the most part acute.

PENDENT, a name given to an elongated boss, either moulded or foliated, such as hang down from the intersection of groins, especially in fan tracery, or at the end of hammer beams. Sometimes long corbels, under the wall pieces, have been so called. The name has also been given to the large masses depending from enriched ceilings, in the later works of the Pointed style.

PENDENT posts, a name given to those timbers which hang down the side of a wall from the plate, and which receive the hammer braces.

PENDENTIVE, a name given to an arch which cuts off, as it were, the corners of a square building internally, so that the super-structure may become an octagon or a dome. In mediaeval architecture these arches, when under a spire in the interior of a tower, are called SQUINCHES (which see).

PERIBOLUS (Gr. Around or about, and to throw), an enclosure. Any enclosed space is a peribolus: but the term is applied more particularly to the sacred enclosure about a temple. The wall forming the enclosure is also called the periblus.

PERIPTEROS (Gr. Around or about, a wing), a temple or other structure with the columns of its end prostyles, or porticoes, returned on its sides as wings at the distance of one intercolumniation from the walls. Almost all the Doric temples of the Greeks were peripteral. The terms is applied by Vitruvius to peristylar structures.

PERISTYLE (Gr. Around or about and a column), a range of columns encircling an edifice, such as that which surrounds the cylindrical under the cupola of St Paul’s. The columns of a Greek peripteral temple form a peristyle also, the former being a circular, and the latter a quadrilateral peristyle.

PERPENT STONES (Fr. Parpaing), bond or :through stones," the __ of the Greeks, and Romans. Long stones going right through walls, and tying them together from face to face.

PERRON, the grand flight of external steps entering the mansions of the mediaeval nobility or high officials, and considered in itself as a mark of jurisdiction, as it is said that sentence was there pronounced against criminals, who were afterwards executed at the foot of the steps- as at the Giant Stairs at Venice. One of the finest later examples is the flight in the Horse-shoe Court at Fontainebleau.

PEWS (Lat. And Gr. Podium; comp. Fr. Pui), fixed seats in churches, composed of wood framing, mostly with ornamented ends. They seem to have come into general use early in the reign of Henry VI., and to have been rented and "well payed for" (see Bale’s Image of Both Churches) before the Reformation. Some bench ends are certainly of Decorated character, and some have been considered to be of the Early English period. They are some times of plain oak board 2 _ to 3 inches thick, chamfered and with a necking and finial generally called a poppy head; others are plainly paneled with bold cappings; in others the panels are ornamented with tracery or with the linen pattern, and sometimes with running foliages. The divisions are filled in with thin chamfered boarding, sometimes reaching to the floor, and sometimes only from the capping to the seat.

PIERS, the solid parts of a wall between windows and between voids generally. The term is also applied to masses of brickwork or masonry which are insulated to form supports to gates or to carry arches.

PIGNON, a French term for the gable of a roof. (See GABLE).

PILASTER (from Lat. Pila, a pillar), an inferior sort of column or pillar; a projection from or against a pier, with the form and decorations of antae, but frequently (always in Roman examples having capitals, like those of columns, assigned them.

PILLAR, OR PYLLER (Fre. Pilier, Ital. pilastro, colonna, Ger. Pfeiler), a word generally used to express the round or polygonal piers or those surrounded with clustered columns which carry the main arches of a building. Saxon and early Norman pillars are generally stout cylindrical shafts built up of small stones. Sometimes, however, they are quite square, sometimes with other squares breaking out of them (this is more common on the Continent), sometimes with angular shafts, and sometimes they are plain octagons. In Romanesque Norman work the pillar is sometimes square, with two or more semicircular or half columns attached. In the Early English period the pillars become loftier and lighter, and in most important buildings are a series of clustered columns, frequently of marble, placed side by sides, sometimes set at intervals round a circular center, and sometimes almost touching each other. These shafts are often wholly detached from the central pillar, though grouped round it in which case they are almost always of Purbeck or Bethersden marbles. In Decorated work the shafts on plan are very often placed round a square set angle wise, or a lozenge, the long way down the nave; the center or core itself is often worked into hollows or other mouldings, to show between the shafts, and to form part of the composition. In this and the latter part of the previous style there is generally a filet on the outer part of the shaft, forming what has been called a keel moulding. They are also often as it were tied together by bands formed of rings of stone and sometimes of metal. About this period, too, these intermediate mouldings run up into and form part of the arch moulds, the impost not being continuous; or rather there is no impost, but the shafts have each their own separate cap. (See IMPOST). This arrangements became much more frequent in the Perpendicular period; in fact it was almost universal, the commonest section being a lozenge set with the long side form the nave to the aisle, and not towards the other arches, as in the Decorated period, with four shafts at the angles, between which were shallow mouldings, one of which in general was a wide hollow, sometimes with wave moulds. As the pillar altogether by the arrangement was wider than the wall above, the shafts facing the nave ran up to the roof, and served in place of the vaulting shafts of the previous periods. The small pillars at the jambs of doors and windows, and arcades, and also those slender columns attached to pillars, or standing detached, are generally called SHAFTS (which see).

PILLOWED. A swollen or rounded frieze is said to be pillowed or pulvinated.

PINNACLE (Fr. Pinnacle, finoison, Ital. pinacolo,-literally a little feather-Ger. Pinnakyl), an ornament originally forming the cap or crown of a buttress or small turret, but afterwards used on parapets at the corners of towers and in many other situations. Some writers have stated there were no Norman pinnacles; but conical caps to circular buttress with a sort of finial are not uncommon in France at very early periods. Viollet-le Duc gives examples form St Gemer and St Remi, and there is one of similar form at the west front of Rochetester Cathedral. In the later Norman period, two examples have been cited, one from Bredon in Worsestershire, and the other from Cleeve in Gloucestershire. In these the buttresses run up, forming a sort of square turret, and crowned with a pyramidal cap, very much like those of the next period, the Early English. In this and the following styles the pinnacle seems generally to have had its appropriate uses. It was a weight to counteract the thrust of the groining of roofs, particularly where there were flying buttresses; it stopped the tendency to slip of the stone copings of the gables, and counter poised the thrust of spires; it formed the piers to steady the elegant perforated parapets of later periods; and in France especially served to counterbalance the weight of overhanging corbel tables, huge gargoyles, &c. In the Early English period the smaller buttresses frequently finished with GABLETS (which see), and the more important with pinnacles supported with clustered shafts. At this period the pinnacles were often supported on these shafts alone, and were open below; and in larger work in this and the subsequent periods they frequently form niches and contain statues. About the Transition and during the Decorated period, the different faces above the angle shafts often finish with gablets. Those of the last-named period are much richer, and are generally decorated with crockets and finials, and sometimes with ball-flowers. Very fine groups are found at Beverly Minster and at the rise of the spire of St Mary’s, Oxford. Perpendicular pinnacles differ but little from Decorated, except that the crockets and finials are of later character. They are also often set angle-ways, particularly on parapets, and the shafts are paneled. In France, pinnacles, like spires, seem to have been use earlier than in England. There are small pinnacles at the angles of the tower in the Abbey of Saintes. At Roullet there are pinnacles in a similar position, each composed of four small shafts, with caps and bases surmounted, with small pyramidal spires. In all these examples the towers have semicircular headed windows.

PISCINAE, one or more hollows or cuvettes near the altars, with drains to take away the water used in the ablutions at the mass. They seem at first to have been mere cups or small basins, supported on perforated stems, placed close to the wall, and afterwards to have been recessed therein and covered with niche heads, which often contained shelves to serve as aumbries. They are rare in England till the 13th century, after which there is scarcely an altar without one. They frequently take the form of a double niche, with a shaft between the arched heads, which are often filled with elaborate tracing.

PITCH OF A ROOF, the proportion of the height of a roof to its span. (see GABLE.)

PLAN, a horizontal geometrical section of the walls of a building; or indications, on a horizontal plane, of the relative position of the walls and partitions, with the various openings, such as windows and doors, recesses and projections, chimneys and chimney-breasts, columns, pilasters &c. This term is often incorrectly used in the sense of DESIGN, q.v.

PLANCEER is sometimes used in the same sense as soffit, but is more correctly applied to the soffit of the corona in a cornice.

PALSTERING (Fr. Platre, Ital, intonaco, Ger. Putzarbeit), a mixture of lime, hair, and sand, to cover lath-work between timbers or rough walling, used from the earliest times, and very common in Roman work. In the Middle Ages, too, it was used not only in private but in public constructions. On the inside face of old rubble walls it was not only used for purposes of cleanliness, rough work holding dirt and dust, but as a ground for distemper painting (tempera, or, as it is often improperly called, fresco), a species of ornament often used in the Middle Ages. At St Alban’s Abbey the Norman work is plastered and covered with lines imitating the joints of stone. The same thing is found in the Perpendicular work at Ash in Kent. On the outside of the like walls, and often of wood-framing, it was used as rough cast; when ornamented in patterns outside, it is called pargetting.

PLINTH (Gr. A square tile). In the Roman orders the lowest members of the base of a column is square and vertically faced; this is called a plinth.

PODIUM, strictly something upon or against which the foot may be placed; and in this sense, probably, it was applied to the wall which bounds the arena of an amphitheatre, and is thereby at the feet of the most advanced of the spectators.

POLYTRIGLUPH, an intercolumniation in the Doric order of more than two triglyphs. (See MONOTRIGLYPH, DITRIGLYPH, and TRIGLYPH.)

POMMEL, a name given to any round knob, as a boss, a finial, &c.

POPPY HEADS, probably from the French poupee, the finials or other ornaments which terminate the tops of bench ends, either to pews or stalls. They are sometimes small human, heads, sometimes richly-carved images, knots of foliages, or finials, and sometimes fleurs-de-lis simply cut out of the thickness of the bench end and chamfered.

PERCH, (Gr. Lat. Porticus, Fr. Porche, Ital. portico, Ger. Vorhalle), a covered erection forming a shelter to the entrance door of a large building. The earliest known are the long arcaded porches in front of the early Christian basilicas, called NARTHEX (which see). In later times they assume two forms – one the projecting erection covering the entrance at the west front of cathedrals, and divided into three or more doorways, &c., and the other a kind of covered chambers open at the ends, and having small windows at the sides as a protection from rain. These generally stand on the north or south sides of churches, though in Kent there are a few instances (as Soudland and Boxley) where they are at the west ends. Porches are of very early use. those of the Norman period generally have but little projection, and are sometimes so flat as to be but little more than outer dressings and hood-moulds to the inner door. They are, however, often very richly ornamented, and, as at Southwell in England and kelso in Scotland, have rooms over, which have been erroneously called parvises. (See PARADISE). Early English porches are much longer, or project much further from the faces of the churches to which they are attached, and in larger and more important buildings have very frequently rooms above; the gables are generally bold and high pitched. In larger buildings also, as at Wells, St Albans, &c., the interiors are very rich in design, quite as much so, in fact, as the exteriors. Decorated and Perpendicular porches partakeof much the same characteristics, the pitch of roof, mouldings, copings, battlements, &c., being of course influenced by the taste of the time. As a general rule, however, the later porches had rooms over them more frequently than in earlier times; these are often approached from the lower story by small winding stairs, and sometimes have free-places, and are supposed to have served as vestries; and sometimes there are the remains of a piscine, and relics of altars, as if they had been used as chantry chapels. It is probable there were wooden porches at all periods, particularly in those places where stone was scarce; but, as may be expected from their exposed position, the earliest have decayed. At Cobham, Surrey, there was one that had ranges of semicircular arches in oak at the sides, of strong Norman character, which is now unfortunately destroyed. It is said there are several in which portions of early English work still are traceable, as at Chevington, in Suffolk. In the Decorated and later periods, however, wooden porches are very common, some plain, and others with richly carved tracery and barge boards; these frequently stand on a sort of half story of stone work or bahut. The entrance porches at the west end of our cathedrals are generally called portals, and where they assume the character of separate buildings, are designated galilees. Both these are more common on the Continent than in England. Many of the French cathedrals have the doors so deeply recessed as to be almost like open porches. These are called portails or portes abrites. Many, however, have detached porches in front of the portals themselves. The noblest example of an open projecting western porch in England, and probably in the world, is at Peterborough, of the Early English period, attached to the early Norman nave.

PORTAL (Fr. Portail, Ital. portone), a name given to the deeply recessed and richly decorated entrance doors to the cathedrals on the Continent.

PORTCULLIS, (M Lat. Cataracta Fr. Herse, coulisse, Ital. saracinesca, Ger. Fallgatter), a strong-framed grating of oak, the lower points shod with iron, and sometimes entirely made of metal, hung so as to slide up and down in grooves with counterbalances, and intended to protect the gateways of castles, &c. The defenders having opened the gates and lowered the portcullis, could send arrows and darts through the grating, and yet the assailants could not enter. One of these constructions was in existence until modern times in a gateway at York; they are said not to be older than the 12th century, and were probably (as their Italian name imports) invented as a defence against the sudden attacks of the Saracens on the coasts of that country.

PORTICO (an Italicism of the Lat. Porticus), an open space before the door or other entrance to any building fronted with columns. A portico is distinguished as prostyle or in antis according as it projects from or recedes within the building, and is further designated by the number of columns its front may consist of (See DISTYLE, TETRASTYLE, HEXASTYLE, OCTASTYLE, &c.)

PORTICUS. In an amphiprostylar or peripteral temple this term is used to distinguish the portico at the entrance from that behind, which is called the posticum.

POST AND PANE WORK, a name given to the carpentry framing of old wooden houses, panne in old French signifying any horizontal piece of timber, as a head, sill, or purlin, thought its use now is confined to the latter, sills and plates at present being called sablieres. When timber was abundant, and stone scarce and dear to work, timber-framed houses naturally abounded. The posts or uprights seem in early times to have been constructed of small oak trees, 6 or 7 inches square, roughy trimmed by the axe; the girdens, &c., are larger, but seldom seem to have been sawn. The framing of the lower story generally stands on a sort of plinth or bahut of stone or brick, sometimes as high as the window sills, and the other fronts are each framed separately; and as the joists of each story project over those of that below, each story also projects, till, in narrow streets, it is said the houses almost touched each other at the top. To strengthen the framing, it was customary to tie the angles together with circular braces cut out of the crooked boughs of trees, and to fill in under and sometimes over the window openings with cross struts, sometimes like the St Andrew’s cross, and sometimes in circles and various designs. The main posts also were strengthened liens or decharges, and by us spervers, which helped to carry the projecting plates above. In the better sort of work these timbers are chamfered and sometimes carved, and the gables have rich barge boards; the roofs invariably have great projections to throw off the wet, and the jutting of the stories, one over the other, no doubt was intended for the same purpose. Old post and pane work is put together with mortices and tenons pinned with pins or trunnels of hardwood; very often there is not a nail in the whole construction. The intermediate upright post or quarters were called pricks posts. All these houses are plastered rough cast, or pargetted between the timbers, sometimes in handsome designs; and as the old oak gets black with age, or as the timbers are often rubbed over with oil, and the plaster whited, they are called in England black and white houses. (See PARGETTING AND PLASTERING). Several churches in Essex have post and pane work.

POSTER, a small gateway in the enceinte of a castle, abbey, &c., from which too issue and enter unobserved. They are often called Sally Ports.

POSTICUM (Lat. A portico behind a temple. (See PORTICUS and PORTICO).

PRECEPTORY, a small establishment of the Knights Templars, managed by a preceptor, a subordinate officer to a master, in the same way as a priory was by a prior, and not an abbot.

PRESBYTERY (Lat. Presbyterium, Ital. presbiterio, Fr. Presbytere), a word applied to various parts of large churches in a very ambiguous way. Some consider it to be the choir itself; others, what is now named the sacrarium. Traditionally, however, it seems to be applied to the vacant space between the back of the high altar and the entrance to the lady chapel, as at Lincoln and Chichester; in other words, the Back or Retro Choir.

PRICK POSTS, an old name given sometimes to the queen posts of a roof, and sometimes to the filling in quarters in framing. (See POST and PANE.)

PRIORY, a monaster establishment, generally in connection with an abbey, and presided over by a prior, who was a subordinate to the abbot, and held much the same relation to that dignity as a dean does to a bishop. (See ABBEY.)

PROCESSION PATH (Lat. Ambitus templi), the route taken by processions on solem days in large churches-up the north aisle, round behind the high altar, down the south aisle, and then up the center of the nave.

PRONAOS (Gr., before, and a temple), the inner portico of a temple, or the space between the porticus, or outer portico, and the door opening into the cella. This is a conventional use of the term; for, strictly, the pronaos is the portico itself.

PROPYLAEUM (Gr. Before and a portal), any structure or strcutres forming the entrance to the peribolus of a temple; also the space lying between the entrance and the temple. In common usage this term in the plural (propylaea) is almost restricted to the entrance to the Acropolis of Athens, which is known by its as a name. The form propylon occurs in the Latin of Vitruvius.

PROSCENIUM, the stage in ancient theatres.

PROSTYLE (Gr. Before, and a column), a portico in which the columns project from the building to which it is attached.

PSEUDO-DIPTERAL (Gr. False, and DIOPTEROS, q.v.), false double-winged. When the inner row of columns of a dipteral arrangement is omitted and the space from the wall of the building to the columns is preserved, it is pseudo-dipteral. The portico of University College, London, is pseudo-dipterally arranged, returning columns on the ends or sides not being carried through behind those in front.

PSEUDO-PERIPTERAL (Gr. False, and PERIPTEROS, q.v.), false-winged. A temple having the columns on its flanks attached to the walls, instead of being arranged as in a peripteros, is said to be a pseuso-peripteral.

PULPIT (Fr. Chaire de l’eglise, Ital. pulpito, Ger. Kansel), a raised platform with enclosed front, whence sermons, homilies, &c., were delivered. Pulpits were probably derived in their modern form from the ambones in the early Christian church. There are many old pulpits of stone, though the majority are of wood. Those in churches are generally hexagonal or octagonal; and some stand on stone bases, and others on slender wooden stems, like columns. The designs vary according to the periods in which they were erected, having paneling, tracery, cuspings, crockets, and other ornaments then in use. some are extremely rich, and ornamented with colour and gilding. A few also have fine canopies or sounding boards. Their usual place is in the nave, mostly on the north side, against the second pier from the chancel arch. Pulpits for addressing the people in the open air were common in the mediaeval period, and stood near a road or cross. Thus there was one at Spital Fields, and one at St Paul’s, London. External pulpits still remain at Magdalene College, Oxford, and at Shrewsbury. Pulpits, or rather places fore reading during the meals of the monks, are found in the refectories at Chester, beauties, Shrewsbury, &c., in England; and at St Martin des Champs, St Germain des Pres, &c., in France; also in the cloisters at St Die and St Lo. Shortly after the Reformation the canons ordered pulpits to be erected in all churches where there were none before. it is supposed that to this circumstance we owe so many of the time of Elizabeth and James. Many of them are very beautifully and elaborately carved, and are evidently of Flemish workmanship. The pulpits in the Mahometan mosques are quite different in form, being usually canopied and approached by a straight flight of steps. These have a doorway at the foot, with an architrave, and boldly moulded head; the whole of the work to this and to the stairs, parapet, and pulpit itself being of wood, richly inlaid, and often in part gorgeously painted and gilt.

PULVINATED (Lat. Pulvinus, a cushion or bolster), a term used to express the swelling or bolstering of the frieze which is found in some of the inferior works of the Roman school, and is common in Italian practice. It is used indifferently with pillowed.

PYCNOSTYLE (Gr. Dense, and a column), having columns thickly set. The space or intercolumniation implied by this term in one diameter and a half. (See EUSTYLE).

Read the rest of this article:
Architecture - Table of Contents

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries