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St. Lawrence's Church, Towcester

St.Lawrence Church 

AEDICULEAn opening or shrine, often containing a statue, framed by a pair of pilasters or columns placed against a wall.
AISLEDerived from the Latin word ala meaning wing. Describes the part of the church running parallel to the nave and separated from it by an arcade or row of piers. Aisles were intended to provide additional space for the congregation, and in the medieval period, to accommodate the Chantry Chapel.
ARCADEA series of arches on columns or piers.
AUMBRYA cupboard or recess in which the sacred vessels, used for Mass or Communion, were stored.
BATTLEMENTAn alternating high and low parapet on a wall.
BOX FLUE TILESOpen ended box shaped tiles which were built into the thickness of the walls, behind the plaster, of a room heated by a hypocaust.
BOX PEWSeating enclosed by a high wooden back and ends, entered by a door which protected the occupants from draughts. Occasionally pews would be reserved for specific families and were lavishly furnished, sometimes including armchairs and a fire.
BUTTRESSA projecting support built against a wall to provide strength.
CAPITALA decorative element at the head of a column dividing it from the masonry, or shaft, supporting it. The decoration is often a useful guide to the period of architecture.
CHANCELThe eastern end of the church in which the main alter is placed. Derived from the Latin cancelli meaning lattice or screen, which separated the chancel from the nave. In medieval times the priest of the parish was responsible for maintaining the chancel, while maintenance of the nave and chancel screen rested with the parishioners.
CHANTRY CHAPELDerived from the French chanceries meaning 'to sing', a priest would be employed to sing masses for the well being of the founder in his life time, and for his soul after death.
CHEVRONA zigzag decoration carved on pillars or arches characteristic of Norman architecture.
CINQEFOILOrnamental tracery in the form of a five petalled flower.
CLERESTRYThe upper storey walls of the nave of a church, pierced by high windows.
CORBELA block of stone projecting out to carry the weight of an arch, beam or other feature.
CRYPTA vaulted underground room usually at the east end of the church, beneath the chancel. In medieval times the crypt was a stone chapel built beneath the floor of the church to hold the tombs of the deceased.
EARLY ENGLISHA style of architecture between c.1190-1275.
EMBATTLEDHaving battlements.
GALLERYAn upper balcony with seating overlooking the nave.
GNOMENThe metal (or wooden) pointer on a sun dial.
GOTHICPeriod of Medieval architecture prevalent in Western Europe from 12th to 16th century. Characterized by the pointed arch and large windows with ornate tracery. Can be subdivided into Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular.
HERRINGBONE PATTERNBricks or tiles laid diagonally with alternate courses in the opposite direction.
HUGHESHenry Hughes (1822 - 1883) Born in Shropshire, he was the son of a butcher, and worked as an apprentice at Ward & Nixon, stained glass manufacturers. After Nixon's death in 1857, Henry Hughes went into partnership with Nixon, working from Frith Street, London. Throughout the 1800's the quality of the glass had been a major limiting factor to designers. It was not until the late 1840's that a range of pot-metal coloured glass was produced that looked like medieval glass and Ward & Hughes were the first firm to use it.

Ward and Hughes were responsible for designing and erecting a large number of windows in the Diocese of Lincoln including Lincoln Cathedral, so it is no surprise that they were commissioned to design a window for St Lawrence.
HYMERSHarvey (Harry) Alexander Hymers of Chelsea, London. Erected windows in St Peter & Paul, Eye, Suffolk also St Mary's Northampton and St Andrew's Harlestone, Northants.
HYPOCAUSTRoman underfloor heating system. The floor is supported on pillars and heat from a furnace is circulated via flues to heat house or bath.
INTERLACEAn abstract pattern characteristic of Anglo-Saxon decoration.
KEENEJames Keene started founding in Bedford in 1618, and moved to Woodstock in 1622. He was sometimes helped by his father Humphrey.
LECTERNA desk to support the books from which the lessons are read in church.
LIGHTSThe subdivision of the glazed area of a window.
LOZENGEA diamond shape decoration found carved on pillars and arches.
MANDORLAAncient symbol of two circles coming together, used to describe the coming together of heaven and earth.
MINTONHerbert Minton of Stoke On Trent was the most important of the early Victorian tile manufacturers, perfecting the process of inlaid tiles (also misleadingly known as 'encaustic'). He worked with A.W.N. Pugin who designed churches and domestic interiors all over the world with his encaustic tiles.
MOOREA. L. Moore (Arthur Louis Moore 1849-1939), Glass Painters & Decorators, 89 Southampton Row, London WC. The company was renamed to A. L. Moore & Sons in 1896.
NAVEThe western and main body of the church, flanked by the aisles. The nave was traditionally the responsibility of the parishioners in medieval times.
NICHEA recess in a wall for statue.
NIMBEDA nimbus is a halo of light or mist around an object.
NORMANA style of architecture between c.1066-1190.
OGEEA double curve bending first one way and then the other. An 'ogee arch' has two curves meeting at an apex.
OPUS SPICATUMWalls or floors made of quite small elongated tiles or briquettes, laid in a fishbone pattern.
PELICANIn Medieval Europe the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young to the point of providing her own blood when no other food was available. As a result of this it has become a symbol for self-sacrifice.
PERPENDICULARA style of English Gothic architecture between c.1350-1550
PEW RENTINGThe order of seating in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries reflected the rigid social structure of that period. Box pews, which provided a certain level of privacy and comfort, would be rented by the wealthy families. Benches crowded in the aisles and galleries were provided for those who could not afford to pay for their seats.
PIERA support which is often square rounded or octagonal.
PILAEHypocaust tiles which were cemented together to form small columns called pilae. The pilae raised the floor so that hot air could pass underneath.
PISCINAA shallow basin with a drain for washing sacred vessels, usually set into a wall to the south of the altar
PULPITFrom the Latin pulpitum meaning scaffold, platform or stage from which the priest would deliver the sermon
QUATREFOILOrnamental tracery in the from of a flower with four symmetrical petals
ROMANESQUEThe style of architecture prevalent in Western Europe. In England often called Saxon or early Romanesque (600 -1066), and Norman or English Romanesque (1050 - 1189).
ROOD LOFTIn medieval times the body of the church (the nave) was divided from the chancel by a screen. This defined the part of the church, which the parishioners were responsible for repairing (the nave) from the chancel, which was the responsibility of the priest of the parish. The rood loft or platform was supported above the screen and may have been used to accommodate the organ or choir. It was protected front and back by panelling and the great rood or crucifix would have been fixed to the front.
Many rood lofts and crucifixes were destroyed at the Reformation. All that remains in St Lawrence are the stairways to access the loft.
ST LAWRENCESt Lawrence was born in Spain in 225 and died in Rome on August 10th 258. According to legend he was burned to death. In religious paintings he is depicted with a grid iron symbolizing his martyrdom.
SHAFTUpright member of a column.
SPONNEArchdeacon Sponne was Rector of Towcester from June 1422 until February 1447, previously rector of Heavingham and Blofield in Norfolk.
VOUSSOIRA wedge shaped stone used in an arch



The St. Lawrence section of the web site was researched by Liz Davies. The web editor was David Wilcock. Acknowledgements and a full list of sources can be found by clicking on Sources.
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