Two books chained to a desk inside St Michael's Church Blewbury, in 1909.
Two books chained to a desk inside St Michael's Church Blewbury, in 1909. © Reproduced by permission of Oxfordshire County Council. Ref: HT10995
Two books chained to a desk inside St Michael's Church Blewbury, in 1909. © Reproduced by permission of Oxfordshire County Council. Ref: HT10995

Glossary of Educational Image Terms

Definitions of historical, architectural and other specific terms used in the Historic England Educational Images section.




An abbey was a monastery run by an abbot or abbess. Abbeys were usually larger monasteries and were built in the countryside away from towns.


Accession is when a person becomes a King or Queen.


A type of aircraft that is lighter-than-air and able to be steered. Examples include blimps and zeppelins.


An aisle is a passage. In churches there is generally a central aisle and often 2 other aisles, one on eith side of the nave.


A place where alms were distributed to the poor, usually in or near a church. Alms were charitable donations such as food, clothing or money.


A place offering accommodation to the poor, sick or elderly of a parish. They are usually paid for and supported by charitable donations.


Alum was a chemical used in the tanning and cloth dyeing industries. It was produced from shale (a type of rock) which was burned causing two chemicals in the shale to combine. The liquid produced from the residue was then boiled and combined with ammonia extracted from seaweed or urine to finally produce crystals of pure alum.


Anything such as bullets and rockets, that can be fired from a weapon.


Any one or thing related to the Church of England. Thus following the Christian, Protestant, faith.


A semicircular or polygonal domed or vaulted structure joined on to a building. They are often found at the east end of a church. They often contain the altar.


A place devoted to the growing and exhibiting of rare trees.

Art Deco

As in Art Deco. This is a style of architecture and interior design that was fashionable in the 1920s and 1930s. It features strong shapes and bold colours. It used designs from ancient Egyptian and Aztec architecture.

Art Nouveau

A late 19th and early 20th century style of art, architecture, and decoration. It is characterised by designs of leaves and flowers with flowing lines and curves. It was at its peak from c1890-1910.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and Crafts is a style of architecture that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was based on bringing back a traditional hand-made look using local styles and building materials.


Ashlar is dressed stone work of any type of stone. Ashlar blocks are highly finished, precisely cut blocks of stone. When laid with others in even courses (rows) it creates a uniform face with fine joints. Most often used as a facing on the visible exterior of a building, especially as a veneer for the facade. Also called dressed stone. Often used in classical buildings.


A place of refuge or shelter. In Victorian times it was also used to refer to an institution where people with mental health problems were sent.


A religious group or person who follow the rules of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD). The main rules are that you should 'love God and then your neighbour'. Nothing is your own property, you should share all you have with others. You should not look down on those poorer than you. You must pray to god regularly. Do not over eat or be greedy. Dress plainly in clean clothes. Care for the sick. Do as you are told by your superiors.



The outermost wall of a castle and the area (courtyard) within it. As in a motte and bailey castle. See motte


Members of various Christian groups who belive that it is necessary to baptise people. This is a Christian rite whereby people are immersed in or sprinkled with water. This is seen as a sign that they have been cleansed of sin. It is also a public show of their faith. Members of the Baptist Church. See Nonconformist.


Outermost defences, often a wall or tower, that are used to protect a gate or drawbridge.


A style of architecture and art in Europe from c1600-1750. It is characterised by very elaborate and ornamental decoration.


A building used to house members of the armed forces.


Barrows are also known as burial mounds. They are mounds of earth or rubble covering one or several burials. In Britain they generally date from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. On maps they are often called tumulus (plural tumuli). This is from latin and means mound or small hill.


A flanking (side) tower, or projection from the main walls of a defensive work/structure. From it a garrison of soldiers could defend the ground in front or to the side.


A fortified house of two or three storeys. The lower floor was used to house animals and the upper floor(s) were for living in. The entrance was on the first floor.


A defensive wall built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows (or later guns) through. These are also called crenellations.

Beaux Arts

Another word for fine art. It relates to a classical decorative style, as was taught at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris.


A monk and saint, known as the Venerable Bede (c673-735AD). He was also a scholar, historian and theologian. He wrote the first book on English history - Ecclesiastical History of the English People. It was written in Latin. He was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth (today in Sunderland), and at its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow. Both were in the Kingdom of Northumbria.


A turret, tower or look out in a prominent position to provide a view. It can be either a separate building, or the upper floor of a building.


A religious group or person who follow the rules of St Benedict (c480-547AD). The three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were the basis of the rule of St. Benedict. St. Benedict sought to draw a sharp line between the monastic life and that of the outside world. Hence he required that, as far as possible, each monastery should form an independent, self-supporting community whose members never left the abbey, monastery or priory where they lived. They are sometimes known as the Black Monks because of the robes they wore.


Someone who supports or helps a person or instituion by giving them money.


The bluecoat is a traditional style of dress code, especially made for Christ's Hospital and used in some British private schools. Most Bluecoat schools have abandoned the uniform and replaced it with more modern styles. The main part of the bluecoat is a long (dark blue or black) coat, belted at the waist, with white neck decoration. Underneath a white shirt and grey shorts are worn, with knee-length socks and smart shoes.

Bronze Age

In Britain the Bronze Age lasted from around 2600 BC to about 700BC. It was the time when the first metal tools came into use.


Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806- 59) was a famous British engineer. He designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge in 1828. Also steam ships, such as the SS Great Britain, Great Western and Great Eastern. Brunel also designed several railways and their associated buildings. Most notable is his work on the Great Western Railway (GWR).


A stone-lined pit or tank used for separating ores (minerals) by sedimentation. It allows valuable ores, such as iron, to be separated from none valuable ones so that they can be further processed. The buddles are therefore often associated with mines and mining.


An Anglo-Saxon fortified town or other defended site. It is usually surrounded by a ditch and earthen ramparts topped by a palisade (wooden fence).



A pink powder made from zinc and iron oxide. It is used in medicine as a soothing lotion.

Capability Brown

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-83) was a famous landscape gardener. He designed over 170 parks and gardens, many of which still exist today. His gardens had green undulating lawns with bands and clumps of trees, planted to give the impression of a romantic natural scene. Everything was carefully planned to give a sense of informality and of natural beauty.


A process in the preparation of raw wool (or other fibres) for spinning. The wool fibres are pulled (combed) between two spiked paddles in order to clean and arrange the fibres.


An order of mendicant (begging) friars originally founded in Palestine in the 12th century. They then reformed in Europe in the 13th century after the failure of the Crusades. They are also known as the White Friars from the white hooded cloak worn over their clothes (habits). They took vows of poverty and toil, didn't eat meat and only spoke during certain times of the day.


A monastic order founded in Chartreuse, in France, by St Bruno in 1084. Those following the order were bound to vows of silence and lived closed off from the rest of the world.


A Christian religion, following the teaching of Jesus Christ. It is headed by the Pope. Also called Roman Catholic.


A person, usually in a monastery, responsible for providing food and drink.


The part of the church near the altar. It is reserved for use by the clergy, ministers and the choir. It is always at the eastern end of the church.


A chapel endowed (given money) for the celebration of Masses for the soul of the donor. Wealthy people would often pay to have them built in a church. This was so that a priest could say prayers for them everyday, thus ensuring their place in heaven.


A charnel house is a vault or building where human skeletal remains (bones)are stored.


Chartism was a movement for political and social reform between 1838 and 1850. Its name comes from the People’s Charter of 1838. This set out the movements 6 main aims. They were: a vote for every man over 21, a secret ballot, to freely elect MPs, payment for MPs so that they could be working class people not just the rich, equal votes for each political constituency, annual elections of MPs. It was possibly the first working class labour movement in the world.


The part of a church between the Nave and the Chancel where the choir sits


A disease of the intestines that causes severe diarrhoea, vomitting and stomach cramps. It is caused by bacteria in water. It often leads to death by dehydration. In the summer of 1849 over 13,000 people, in just three months, died of cholera in London. Since imrovments have been made to make drinking water cleaner cholera has almost disappeared in Europe.


A Christian order of monks and nuns, founded in 1098. They follow the rules of St Benedict (obedience, poverty and chastity) in a very strict way. They are often referred to as the White Monks because of the robes they wore. As opposed to the Benedictines who wore black robes.


A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle.


A type of architecture that is influenced by the architecture of ancient Greece or Rome.


An architectural term denoting an upper level of a Romanesque or Gothic church, the walls of which rise above the rooflines of the lower aisles and are pierced with windows. The purpose of the clerestory is to give light to the inner space of a large building.


A cloister is an open space surrounded by covered walkways. It comes from the Latin word claustrum which means enclosure. They were an important feature of medieval monasteries.


A person who makes, sells, or deals in clothes or cloth.


The Cluniac order is Benedictine, in that its monks live according to the Rule of St. Benedict. The monks also wear black clothes and are known as Black Monks. The order was formed after Cluny Abbey was founded in the 10th century. The Cluniac way of life emphasizes the celebration of Mass and other services in the most elaborate manner possible. The order is known for its splendor, its richly decorated churches and its great wealth.


Cob or cobb is a building material consisting of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth, similar to adobe.

Collegiate church

A church served by a body of canons or prebendaries; not housing the throne of a bishop and therefore not a cathedral; served by secular canons rather than monks


A row of evenly spaced columns (pillars). Usually supporting a horizontal piece of stone or other material across the top of them.


To honour or keep alive the memory of someone or something.


A passage (a pipe or tunnel) through which water or electric wires can pass.


To take (seize) something usually as a punishment.


A type of Christian Protestant church where the members of each church (the congregation) are responsible for running their own church. See Nonconformist.


To make/declare something or someone sacred or holy.


To convalesce is to gradually return to health after illness, injury or an operation. The period during which this recovery happens is known as convalescence. The sick person is a convalescent.


The most ornate of the three main classical orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian). It is characterised by a slender column with leaf shaped carvings at the top.


The Corporation were a group of people authorised by law to act as an individual. It had its own powers, duties and responsibilities. Many town Corporations were later replaced by Local Authorities or County Councils.


A defensive wall built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows (or later guns) through. These are also called battlements.


Crinoline was originally a stiff fabric made from a mixture of horse-hair and cotton or linen thread. The fabric first appeared around 1830. By 1850, the word had come to mean a stiffened petticoat or rigid skirt-shaped structure of steel designed to support the skirts of a woman's dress in the required shape.


Cropmarks are light and dark markings that show up in growing and ripening crops. They are most easily seen by looking at aerial photography. Crops growing above a feature such as a stone wall will grow less well. Crops growing above a feature such as a ditch or hole that has filled up with rich top soil will grow much better. This difference in growth shows up the shape of features from the air.


A cruck is a frame formed by two timbers. These are usually curved and set up as an arch or inverted V (/\). Each half of the cruck is called a blade. The pair of timbers are often cut from the same tree (a curved trunk sliced in half).


A small dome on top of a larger dome, roof, or turret.


A linear earthwork dating from prehistoric times. Their purpose is unclear but they are believed to have been processional ways leading to sacred sites such as Stonehenge.



The dating of past events by comparing the successive annual growth rings of trees. It is usually used to date old timbers that are part of a house, ship or other objects.


A place where medicine and medical supplies are dispensed. Many dispensaries later grew to become hospitals.


The Dissolution was the legal process that took place between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, nunneries and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland. Their income and property were taken by the king and in some cases given to other people.


A Catholic religious order dedicated to Saint Dominic and founded in France in 1216. They are also known as the Black Friars because of the black cloak they wore over their white clothes (habits). They believed in learning, teaching and charity to others. They often carried and used Rosary Beads (prayer beads).


The simplest and plainest of the three main classical orders of architcture (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). It is characterised by large undecorated columns.


The communal sleeping area of a monastery. It is also known as the dorter.


Part of a husband's property given to his widow by law. This is often a small house, usually on the estate of a country house, intended as her home.


A draper was someone who sold cloth (fabric) or clothes.

Dry Dock

Also known as a graving dock. It is a large dock from which water can be pumped in and out. It is used for building ships or for repairing a ship below its waterline.


Earth Closet

An outbuilding with a toilet in it that is not connected to a sewer. The toilet is usually a seat placed over a hole in the ground where the 'waste' material is covered by soil, ash or sawdust being thrown down it (instead of flushing!). The waste or 'soil' had to be dug out and taken away by night soil men.


Relating to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1602). It is also a style of architecture used in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. See Renaissance


The act of giving money to be used to provide a permanent income to support an institution, eg. almshouses or a school.


A long, open and level stretch of ground for walking along. Especially beside the seashore. Also known as a promenade.


To be excluded (banned) from a church or a religious community.



The face or main front of a building. Also called the frontage.


A fellmonger is someone who removes hair from animal hides in preparation for tanning. The name comes from the Old English ‘fell’ meaning skins and ‘monger’ meaning dealer.


A trustee or trustees who are in charge of a trust. They are responsible for managing the trust. Trusts are generally charities who give money or assistance to people or buildings.


The fibres of the flax plant can be made into thread. This can then be woven into a type of fabric known as linen.


A pattern that looks like a lily with 3 distinct petals.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was known as 'the Lady with the Lamp'. She was a nurse during the Crimean War. She pioneered the concept of hygiene within hospitals. She also set up the first training school for nurses at St Thomas's hospital.


A building, often found in 18th century landscape gardens. They tend to be quirky and have no practical purpose. They can take many forms - ruins, pretend castles, towers, hermits' cells or grottoes.


An experienced person who supervises other workmen.


A place in which metal is worked by heating and hammering. It is also known as a smithy.


A usually permanent defense designed to strengthen and protect a place.


A temporary Roman fort or camp. As well as the permanent stone built forts near Hadrians Wall evidence of around 65 temporary camps or fortlets have been discoverd, mainly from aerial photographs. Some of these may have been used by the Roman soldiers who built the Wall.


A foundry is a factory that produces metal objects from castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mould and then removing the mould material. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron.


William Henry Fox-Talbot (1800-77) was a British physicist and a pioneer of photography.


A religious group or person who follow the rules of St Francis of Assisi (c1181-1226). The main rule was a vow of poverty.


A painting on plaster. Frescoes were common in medieval churches and buildings. They don’t last very long in the damp British climate. Added to this, the Reformation meant that many were painted over. Very few frescoes remain.


A member of one of the mendicant (begging) Christian religious orders. They are mainly Augustinian, Carmelite, Dominican or Franciscan friars. Unlike monks they were not confined to a single monastery or abbey. Friaries were usually smaller than abbeys or priories and were built in towns.


The process which followed weaving in woollen cloth manufacturing. During the fulling operation the woollen cloth was washed, shrunk, and felted (matted together by means of heat, moisture, friction, and pressure).



The triangular upper part of a wall between the sloping ends of a pitched roof or where a wall continues up above the roof line to form a triangle. It can also be a triangular feature over a door or window.


The period from when King George I became king until the end of the reign of King George IV (1714 - 1830). It also refers to a style of architecture used in England at this time. Georgian architecture is based on classical architecture. It is characterized by proportion, balance and symmetry with a regular pattern of windows and often centrally placed door.

Giles Gilbert Scott

Giles Gilbert Scott(1880-1960) was an architect who liked to mix traditional and modern styles. He designed churches including Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, industrial buildings such as Battersea and Bankside power stations in London and the red telephone kiosk.


A style of art and architecture usually associated with the Middle Ages, 1150-1500. Many churches were built in the Gothic style. The pointed arch is a common feature.


A storehouse for grain, especially after it has been threshed or husked. They were often raised off the ground to protect from damp and rats.


Grandmontines were the monks of the Order of Grandmont, a religious order founded by Saint Stephen of Thiers, towards the end of the 11th century. They followed the "Rule of St. Stephen". The early Grandmontines were noted for their extreme austerity. They took vows of poverty and begging was only permitted when there was no food in the house. The law of silence was also very severe, as were the rules of fasting and abstinence.


An outlying farm or estate, usually belonging to a religious order or feudal lord.

Graving Dock

Also known as a dry dock. It is a large dock from which water can be pumped in and out. It is used for building ships or for repairing a ship below its waterline.


A shady cavern built as a garden feature. In the 18th century it usually took the form of an artificial rocky cave decorated with stalactites and shells.


An organisation of men that share the same interests, such as merchants, shopkeepers, tradesmen and craftsmen (artisans). Guilds were formed to provide mutual help and protection, as well as to maintain craft standards.


The hall of a Guild or Corporation (see Guild and Corporation) used for meetings or trading.


The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835, and ran its first trains three years later. It was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel



A large shed for the housing of aircraft.


A henge is a British prehistoric structure. It is usually a ditch with a bank (earth mound) outside it. The bank can have one, two, or four entrances cut through it. Inside the bank there may be different features including; timber circles, stone circles, standing stones, pits, burials and central mounds.


Somebody who lives a life of solitude for their faith.


A hipped roof has sloped ends instead of (flat) gable ends (see gable).


Huguenots were French Protestants who were persecuted for their beliefs. Large numbers fled to England as refugees in Tudor times bringing their skills as weavers particularly of silk.


Hydraulic power is where machinery is moved or operated by liquid (water or oil).


Roman heating system in which hot air was circulated under the floors.



A building or part of a building used for the care of the sick. An infirm person is someone who is sick.


In the original or natural place or site. For example 'the pottery was left in-situ' means 'the pottery was left where it was found'.

International Modern Style

An architectural style which began just before the 1914–18 war. Its main themes were asymmetry; severe, blocky, cubic shapes; smooth flat plain undecorated surfaces (often painted white); ‘flat’ roofs; large expanses of glass held in steel frames, the use of concrete in construction.


One of the three main classical orders of architcture (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). It is characterised by downward- and inward-curling spirals (called volutes) on the top of columns.

Iron Age

The Iron Age in Britain lasted from around 800BC until the Roman invasion of 43AD. It is the time when iron first begins to used. Objects such as tools to weapons were now starting to made from iron.


A style of classical architecture at its peak in the early to mid-19th century. It is based on the palaces of Renaissance Italy, but often varied by asymmetrical elements. It was often used for country houses.



A style of architecture relating to the reign of James I of England (1603-25). A common feature is large, symmetrical gables on the front of the building.


A supporter of James II after he was thrown off the English throne. James II was a member of the House of Stuart. It more broadly describes anyone who supported the Stuart kings claim to the English throne.


In a timber-framed building, the projection of an upper storey beyond the storey below is called a jetty. A jetty may also be a a structure sticking out into the sea, or a lake or river, used for tying up boats.



The major tower of a castle. Often acting as its last defence.


A knight was a person of noble birth trained to fight and follow the rules of chivalry. Knights received land from the lord of the manor and in return had to fight for him. Today it is a person who has been knighted by the sovereign for doing something special. A knight can put the word 'Sir' before their name.

Knights Templars

The Knights Templars were members of a religious military order established in 1118 to protect pilgrims and the holy places in Jerusalem.


Le Courbusier

Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International Style. He believed in large scale housing developments. The most famous of these was the Unité d'Habitation of Marseilles.


A leper was someone suffering from a disease called leprosy. It affects the skin and the nerves under the skin. The word leprosy comes from the Greek word lepra - meaning "a disease which makes the skin scaly". Leper hospitals were often set up by religious groups to provide care for people suffering from the disease. They were kept isolated (away from people) as leprosy is infectious (can be caught from other people).


Is somebody who writes, compiles and edits dictionaries.


A public open-air swimming pool or enclosed bathing beach.


A fire was lit in the kiln and crushed limestone was added, from this lime was produced. It was used as fertilizer in the fields, for whitewashing cottages and it some industrial processes.


Before the establishment of a national police service people were tried by local magistrates. They travelled round their county and held regular courts at certain places. Serious criminals were sent from villages to larger towns to be put in prison until the court next visited that town. However more minor offences such as petty theft and often drunkenness were dealt with locally by placing the offenders in a village lockup.


A covered arcade, often attached to a building. It is open on one or more sides.


Sir Edwin Lutyens was an important British architect of the early 20th century. He used traditional and classical styles. He designed and altered many large country houses in England. He was also the main architect for New Delhi, India.



A two storey flat located within a block of flats. They are usually laid out like a house with bedrooms and bathroom upstairs.


Malt is barley or grain that is soaked, germinated and dried for use in brewing or distilling. Maltings are buildings with malt kilns for the malting of grains and with other equipment for brewing work.


The land or estate belonging to a lord or nobleman. He would live in the manor house. He had control over the people who worked on his land and could hold manorial courts to enforce the law.


A coastal gun/watch tower. A series of Martello towers were built as part of the anti-invasion defences during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815).


A martyr is someone who is put to death because of their religious beliefs.


A craftsman who carves and shapes stone for building and for decorating buildings.


A large or grand tomb. Usually for a single person or family.


The medieval period lasted from 1066 (the date of the Norman invasion) until 1485 (the date that the Tudor family became monarchs). It is also known as the Middle Ages.


A person who is a member of the Methodist church which is one of the Christian Nonconformist Protestant religions. These religions do not follow the teaching of the Church of England. Methodist churches are much plainer than parish churches. The minister stands in the same part of the church as the congregation (people attending the service). See Nonconformist.


At every ‘Roman mile’ (approx 1.5 km) along the wall a milecastle was built. These were small forts for up to 50 men. Between each of these were two turrets. Soldiers lived there to defend the Wall and to control gates to the roads that ran between the milecastles, turrets and the Military Road.


Civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army


A tall slender tower attached to a mosque, having one or more projecting balconies from which a muezzin (priest) summons the people to prayer.

Minster church

Minster is a title given to particular churches in Great Britain. It is used for large or important churches, especially collegiate or cathedral churches.


A deep, wide defensive ditch. Normally filled with water and surrounding a fortified site, such as a castle.


A design style dating from the 1920s featuring clean lines and a plain style based on the function (use) of the building. Decoration is minimal. It started in the Bauhaus School of Art in Germany. Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier were important architects. British Modernism arrived with refugees from Nazi Germany.


A building occupied by people who have dedicated their lives to God - monks or canons. They live, work and worship together and have no personal possessions. They take vows and follow strict rules of conduct.


A monument is any type of structure that was specifically made to commemorate a person or important event, or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage.


A style of architecture based on designs used by the Moors who came from Africa to rule southern Spain in the 13th to 16th centuries. The designs are based on ornate, geometric decoration and arches shaped like horseshoes.


An anglo saxon word for a meeting or meeting place.


The mound made of earth on top of which the original part of a castle was built. The castle was often just a wooden fence at first and later on a stone tower called the Keep. As in a motte and bailey castle. See Bailey.


The word municipal is used to describe something that belongs to the town or the town council or is run by them. It could be a building such as the 'municipal' swimming baths.


Anything such as bullets and rockets, that can be fired from a weapon.



An enclosed passage between the main entrance and the nave of a church. See Nave


The main part of a church where the people (congregation) sit during services. It always lies to the west of the chancel. It will often have aisles or passages along both sides. See Chancel.


A style within classical architecture which aimed to design buildings more like the original buildings of the Greeks and Romans. Architects visited Rome, Athens, etc accurately observing and measuring the remains of their buildings. It was popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


The Neolithic period or New Stone Age lasted from about 4000BC until 2200BC. It started when farming first arrived in Britain from Europe. It was the time when people in Britain started to live in permanent settlements.


A person whose is a member of a Christian, Protestant religion that does not follow the teaching of the Church of England. Nonconformist religions include Methodist, Baptist and Congregationalist. Nonconformist churches are much plainer than parish churches. The minister stands in the same part of the church as the congregation (people attending the service).



A tall four-sided pillar that tapers at the top to end to form a pointed pyramid shape. They are used as decoration in the landscape and often as memorials.


Highly decorated or ornate. A cottage ornee is a villa on a small scale, which may open into a picturesque lawn varied by groups of trees. The cottage is frequently thatched and has projecting eaves. The walls should be covered with climbing plants, and there is generally a veranda round the house.


Long, pliable willow shoots suitable for making baskets and furniture.



A large, palatial urban building in Italy.


To palisade is to surround with a wall in order to fortify A palisade is a fortification consisting of a strong fence made of stakes driven into the ground. Palisades were used to surround the bailey of a castle keep.


A style of architecture developed by the Italian classical architect Andrea Palladio. It was introduced to Britain by Inigo Jones in the early 17th century and popular in the 18th century. It was used for grand country houses and is a classical style featuring columns and arches based on proportion, symmetry and simplicity.


A wall for protection at any sudden drop, e.g. on the sides of a bridge. Also at the top of a castle where it protects the parapet walk or wall-walk behind the battlements. They are also common in Georgian architecture where they hide the roof.


The act of giving financial backing to a person or place.


A large gable usually triangular in shape based on those found on classical buildings from Rome and Greece particularly temples. They are found on the top of buildings below the roof and over the entrance and are often decorated. Smaller versions are also used over doors, windows etc.


A pele or peel tower is a small, strong, fortified tower house. It was only occupied in times of trouble. They were built mainly in the border country of the North from the mid 14th to the 17th centuries.


An English version of the late Gothic architectural style used from the 1320s into the early 1500s. It can be recognised by its large windows divided up by straight vertical bars called mullions that go right up to the top of a four-centered (Tudor) arch.


A small isolation hospital or hostel for people with infectious diseases and leprosy. They were usually situated on the edge of a town or village. There was often little or no nursing care.


The act of giving money or land to provide something for other people that will improve their life.


A decorative, rectangular column attached to a wall. They only stick out a small amount and are often made to look like a classical column. They can be just decorative or act as supports.


A pilgrim is someone who journeys to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion. The journey is called a pilgrimage.


A small enclosed gun emplacement usually built of fortified concrete. Many were built during World War Two along rivers and on the coast, as part of the defences against invasion.


Of many colours


A porch with its roof supported by a row of columns.

Post mill

The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. The whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single upright post. The whole mill can be turned around on the post to bring the sails into the wind. The earliest post mills in England are thought to have been built in the 11th and 12th centuries. Early mills were turned by hand.


A manor or estate owned and run by an order of knights, such as the Knights Templar.


The time in history before a written record was kept. In Britain it is the time before the Roman invasion of 43AD. The only evidence of this period is from objects that have survived from then.


A type of a religious community that was founded in 1121 and follows the Rule of St Augustine. The members are called canons and they work in places like hospitals as well as inside their own community. In England they are known as the 'white canons' as their habits are white. See Monastery.


A Christian, Protestant religion which developed from the teaching of John Calvin. Presbyterianism was founded by John Knox in Scotland in 1557. Their churches are run by a group of elders. They have strict rules of behaviour. See Nonconformist.


Priories were monasteries run by a prior or prioress. They were usually smaller than abbeys.


A long, open and level stretch of ground for walking along. Especially beside the seashore. Also known as an esplanade.


Christian, non Roman Catholic religions formed after the Reformation in the 16th century. The Church of England is a Protestant church. See Reformation, Nonconformist and Catholic.


The English architect A.W. Pugin(1812-1852) played a leading role in the 19th century revival of Gothic architecture. He designed many churches and the Houses of Parliament.


In the 16th and 17th centuries they were extreme protestants. They wanted to reform the Church and society and make them much more pure. They believe that individuals can have direct communication with God without the need for bishops and an elaborate Church hierarchy. This was why many of them set sail on the 'Mayflower' to start a new life in America. The government controlled how they could worship in England, but in America they would be free to worship God as they pleased.



The name given to a member of the Society of Friends. They are a Protestant religious group. They have no church officials or set services and are pacifists. They have strict views on drinking alchohol. See Protestant, Nonconformist


The part of a church between the Nave and the Chancel where the choir sits. It is also known as the Choir.



Radiocarbon dating can be used for dating anything that contains organic material. It is based on analysis of the relative amount of the carbon-14 atom present in a sample. Objects less than 300 years old cannot be reliably dated by this method.


The outer line of defence around a castle or fort. They may be stone walls or banks of earth.


The room in a monastery, abbey, priory or nunnery where meals were eaten. See Monastery


The period in history, during the 16th century, when the Roman Catholic Church was questioned and the Protestant religion began in many countries. In England Henry Vlll formed the Church of England. See Protestant.


The period in English history when the Prince Regent (later George IV) had to rule as his father King George lll was unwell. It lasted from 1811 until 1820. The term Regency also refers to the architectural style of the period 1800 - 1837. Regency architecture is based on the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. It features columns and buildings covered with white painted stucco. See Stucco.


A style of classical architecture that began in 15th-century Italy at the time of history known as the Renaissance. It was based on the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. It came to England at the time of Elizabeth l. Inigo Jones was a famous architect who built in this style.


An exact copy.


A reredorter was the name for the communal toilet in mediaeval monasteries. It was usually attached to the monks' dormitory on the east of the main cloister. It was designed so that waste was carried away by a stream, river or other water channel. This was a far more hygenic system than was used by most other people at this time.


A term used in architecture to describe an architectural style that is based on one from an earlier period in history. For example, Gothic Revival was a type of Victorian architecture based on the Gothic style that was first used in Medieval times.

Ridge and Furrow

Ridges and furrows are undulating (corrugated) earthworks. They are created when using and ox-driven plough. They are most easily seen on aerial photographs. They usually show areas of medieval field systems.


A ropewalk is a long straight narrow lane, or a covered pathway, where long strands of material were laid before being twisted into rope. Many towns had a ropewalk in the past. It is a common street name today, often for a street built on the site of the old ropewalk.



Saltaire is the name of a Victorian model village in the City of Bradford. It was founded in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry.


A special hospital for patients with tuberculosis. They were built in places with clean air and provided patients with bedrest. Patients often spent time outside. See Tuberculosis.


The area around the main altar of a church. People who had broken the law went there to claim sanctuary or freedom from arrest.


A coffin made of stone or other long lasting material.


A type of tuberculosis which leads to swellings in the neck. It was common in children and could be caught from drinking unpasteurised milk. It was associated with poor people. See Tuberculosis


Secular means not concerned with or devoted to religion. It can be used to describe non religious buildings or people who worked in a monastery but were not bound by monastic vows - the secular or 'lay' brothers.


A holy or sacred place which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint or similar figure of awe and respect. People set up or visit shrines to venerate or worship the person. Churches often have shrines.


A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering it, either by direct attack or by waiting for people inside the city or fortress to run out of food or water and then surrender.

Smock mill

The smock mill consists of a sloping, wooden, tower usually with six or eight sides. It is topped with a roof or cap that rotates to bring the sails into the wind. This type of windmill got its name from its resemblance to smocks worn by farmers in an earlier period. they are particularly common in Kent.


Snuff is a finely powdered tobacco for sniffing up the nose. Taking snuff was very fashionable in Georgian England.


A landing stage for loading or unloading cargo boats. In the northeast and east of England the term staithe is also used to refer to the loading chutes or ramps used to get bulky cargoes like coal right out to empty directly into the hold of a ship or barge.


A hardwearing but fine lime plaster, sometimes incorporating marble dust. It is often used on the outside walls of buildings as a protective coating that can then be painted. It can also be shaped into ornamental or architectural features. White painted stuccoed walls are a feature of classical styles of architecture.


Studs are the upright timbers of a timber-framed wall or partition. Close studding has studs of equal size set close to each other. Ornamental studding used more decorative timbers.


The Hindu practice (rite) of burning widows alive on their husband's funeral pyre.


The quality of having parts that match each other, especially in a way that is attractive. It is often used in architecture particularly Georgian architecture.



The process of preparing animal skins before they are made into leather goods.


A movement to persuade people not to drink alchohol.


A large building divided up into many dwellings and often lived in by poorer families who pay rent for them. A tenement can also be a shop within a building.


A framework with hooks that is used for stretching and drying cloth. It is where the phrase 'on tenterhooks', meaning stretched or worried, comes from.


A building material made from unglazed, baked clay used for tiles, decoration on buildings, garden pots etc. It is reddish brown in colour.


A general word for different types of woven or knitted cloth or fabric.


The process of separating the ears of corn from the husks (seed case) and stalks. Ancient threshing consisted of pounding the grain and then throwing it into the wind, which would carry off the light husks and allow the clean grain to fall to a mat.


A tenth part of a person's goods and produce that was originally paid to the church to support the local vicar and the Poor. It was a type of tax.

Tower mill

A Tower Mill is a type of windmill which consists of a brick or stone tower. A roof or cap which can be turned to bring the sails into the wind sits on top of the tower.


The thin stone or wooden bars in the top of a Gothic window, screen, or panel, that creates a decorative pattern.


In a cross-shaped church, the part of the church forming the short arms of the cross on either side of the main part of the church or nave. The point where the nave and transept cross is called the crossing.


An infectious bacterial disease transmitted through the air that mainly affects the lungs. It was often called TB. It was treated by sending patients to a hospital in a place with clean air for bedrest, often outside. See Sanatorium.


The Tudor period lasted from 1485 until 1603 when all the kings and queens were from the Tudor family. Timber framed buildings were the most common architectural style in the Tudor period.


Turnpikes were gates set across a road to make people stop and pay a toll or fee. The Turnpike Act of 1663 meant a toll/fee had to be paid to travel on certain roads. This was to pay for their upkeep. This lead to the creation in 1706 of Turnpike Trusts - private companies set up to collect the tolls and maintain the roads.


A person who sets type. Formerly an employee in a printshop who manually took pieces of moveable type and put them together for printing. The pieces of type were put into a stick before being slid into the printing press. If they were put in the wrong way round then it would print out incorrectly - hence the expression getting hold of the wrong end of the stick.



An undercroft is a cellar or underground room, often brick-lined and vaulted. They are found in houses, castles and churches dating from medieval times and generally used for storage. The undercroft in a chuch is also known as the crypt and used for burials.


A person who believes that God is one being and rejects the Trinity (God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit). The Unitarian faith is a Christian, Protestant, Nonconformist religion. See Protestant, Nonconformist.



A person with no home or job who wanders from place to place living on the streets.


A ditch with banks on either side that ran to the south of Hadrians Wall. It ran alongside the Military Road which was nearer to the Wall. It was built after the Wall and ran the length of the frontier from the Tyne to the Solway. It marked the edge of the military zone and was used to control which people were allowed into the military area.


An arched stone roof, sometimes copied in timber or plaster. There are different kinds including; barrel vault, fan-vault, and rib-vault.


A porch or balcony extending along the outside of a building. They usually have a roof and are often often partly enclosed with windows or shutters.


Refers to buildings built using local materials in traditional ways. They are usually designed without the intervention of professional architects. Different regions have different types of buildings depending on the natural resources that were available, such as stone or wood.


A room in a church where the choir and clergy put on their vestments (special clothes) and where these and other things are stored. They are also used for meetings and classes. The word is also used for a committee of parishioners elected to run the non - religious affairs of a parish. Another word for the vestry is the sacristy.


A long bridgelike structure, usually made up of a series of arches. They were built to carry a road or railway across a valley, dip in the ground or other obsticles.


To supply with food. Ships have to be victualled (stocked with food) before they set sail and armies have to be victualled (supplied with food). Inn keepers are also known as Licensed Victuallers.


Wattle and Daub

Daub is a mud and clay mixture used to hold a wall together. It is traditionally used with woven sticks known as ‘wattle’ in medieval buildings.


A type of medieval timber-framed house common in Kent and Sussex. Main features are a central open hall, two storeys on each side of it, jetties to the front at either end.


An outside wall covering of overlapping, usually horizontal, wooden boards.


A whitesmith is a person who works with "white" or light-coloured metals such as tin and pewter. While blacksmiths work mostly with hot metal, whitesmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal (although they might use a forge to shape their raw materials).


William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833) was a member of parliament and social reformer who played a big part in the abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in the British Empire.


A building where poor people were given food and shelter. Able bodied people had to work in return.


A smooth woollen fabric used to make jackets and trousers. It was named after Worstead, a district in Norfolk.


Sir Christopher Wren (1632 - 1723) was the architect who designed many of the new buildings constructed in London after the Great Fire including St Pauls cathedral and 51 churches. His style was known as English Baroque.



A type of aircraft that is lighter-than-air and able to be steered. Examples include blimps and airships.