you read through the information OntaWorld provides for each village
and parish, you may strike terms that you are unfamiliar with, particularly
when it comes to descriptions of church features and terms no longer
common in modern English. We hope that this reference list will
be useful to you, but if you have any further queries, please email
Plural of abacus (see below).
A level tablet on the capital of a column, supporting the
The right of presentation of a rector to a church benefice.
Passage alongside the nave, choir or transept of a church,
separated by columns.
Relief given out of pity to the poor; also a good or charitable
A dish for receiving alms.
Recess for church vessels, storage space.
A man or woman who has withdrawn from the world, especially
for religious reasons.
A semicircular or polygonal recess, especially at the east
end of a church choir.
A series or row of arches, open or closed, on columns or pilasters.
The lowest division of the entablature resting immediately
on the abacus of the column. Also a collective name for the
various parts, jambs, lintels, etc, that surround a door or
window; or moulding round an arch.
A small semicircular moulding round a column or elsewhere;
or one of the bars that hold the pane of a window.
A bold, vigorous, exuberant style in architecture, decoration
and art generally, that arose with the Counter-Reformation
and prevailed in Louis XIV's time, which later degenerated
into tasteless extravagance in ornament.
A narrow moulding originally of semicircular section, sometimes
broken into bead-like parts, now in various shapes, used especially
for covering small gaps. Bead can also mean a prayer.
A pointed projection.
The part of a steeple or tower in which bells are hung; or
a bell-tower, sometimes standing apart.
A church living, especially with cure of souls.
An ornament in Norman architecture in the form of short cylinders
with spaces between.
A projecting support built on to the outside of a wall; or
any support or prop; or to prop or support, as by a buttress.
A member of a body of clergymen serving a cathedral or other
church and living under a rule; a clerical dignitary belonging
especially to a cathedral, enjoying special emoluments (advantages),
and obliged to reside there part of the year.
A roof-like projection over a niche, tomb, statue, stall,
Head or carving feature of a column.
A scroll-like ornament with rolled ends.
A communion cup, or cup or bowl.
A bevel or slope made by paring off the edge of anything originally
right-angled. Also a grove, channel or furrow; or to flute,
as a column.
Bevelled, furrowed or grooved.
The eastern part of a church, originally separated from the
nave by a screen of latticework, so as to prevent general
access into it, though not to interrupt sight or sound. Generally
the choir is located in the chancel, with the altar at the
rear or far eastern wall.
A chapel or chamber in which a corpse lies in state before
burial, surrounded by lighted candles.
A clergyman attached to an institution, establishment, organisation
The part of a church, at the eastern end, often separated
from the nave by a rail or screen, and within the chancel,
where the church singers (choir) may be situated.
An upper storey or part with its own row of windows, especially
the storey above the triforium in a church. A clerestory was
often a later addition to a church to allow more natural light
into the building.
A range of columns placed at regular intervals.
A niche for a sepulchral urn; or a recess in a wall to receive
the end of a rafter.
A small column.
A long round body, used as support or adornment; or any upright
body or mass like a column.
A spiritual or ecclesiastical court.
A projection from the face of a wall supporting a weight.
A row of corbels and the parapet or cornice they support.
The uppermost member of the entablature, surmounting the frieze.
Also a projecting moulding along the top of a building, window,
etc; or a plaster moulding round a ceiling; or a moulded ridge
for supporting picture hooks.
One who has the cure of souls; or a clergyman in the Church
of England, assisting a rector or vicar.
A tooth-like ornament common in Gothic tracery.
A fir or pine board of a standard size; or soft wood.
English Gothic architecture circa 1290-1350.
A manor house with lands adjacent to it, not let out to tenants;
or any estate in land.
The chief Roman silver coin under the Republic, divided into
ten asses about 8d.
The circuit or extent of a bishop's jurisdiction.
A register of bishops, saints, etc, read aloud during the
eucharist; or a pair of pictures as folding-tablets.
To seize goods for debt, especially for non-payment of rent
One of the Greek orders of architecture, distinguished by
its simplicity and massive strength.
A small window with a gable, projecting from a sloping roof.
English Gothic architecture circa 1190-1250.
In classic architecture, that part which surmounts the columns
and rests upon the capitals.
tracery, fan vaulting
Tracery rising from a capital or a corbel, and diverging like
the folds of a fan over the surface of a vault.
A small space or band used along with mouldings.
A flower-like ornament.
A longitudinal groove, as on a pillar.
Ornamented with flutes, channels or grooves.
The part of the entablature between the architrave and cornice,
often ornamented with figures. Also a decorated band along
the top of a room wall.
A hanging of silk, satin or similar, embroidered for an altar,
these days usually covering only the top. A superfrontal would
have covered the whole of the front of the altar.
The triangular part of an exterior wall of a building between
the top of the side-walls and the slopes on the roof.
The end-wall of a building on the side where there is a gable.
A small gable over a niche, buttress, tabernacle, etc.
A window in a gable-end; or a window with its upper part shaped
like a gable.
A tax or payment.
Of the period of any of the various Georges, kings of Great
The land attached to a parish church; or a field.
The 12th-16th century style of architecture in churches, with
high-pointed arches, clustered columns, etc (applied in reproach
at the time of the Renaissance); generally, the style related
to this, favoured in all the fine arts during that period.
A Gothic style of building.
The more serious revival of the Gothic style of architecture
which followed the Gothick period.
A style of architecture, circa 1720-1840, in which the Gothic
style of the middle ages was imitated.
A raised step or ledge behind an altar.
The arms of a deceased person within a black lozenge-shaped
The external angle formed by the sides of a roof when the
end slopes backwards instead of terminating in a gable.
A roof that slopes at the end as well as at the sides.
An uppermost projecting moulding over a door, window or arch.
A working farmer; a person who labours in tillage (cultivating).
A layman who is in possession of a benefice or its revenues.
A person who holds an ecclesiastical benefice or any office, for example a rector of a parish.
A single shield, borne as a charge.
From the period of James I of England, 1603-25.
The sidepiece or post of a door.
A lead rod for framing a pane in a lattice or stained glass window.
Any narrow, prominent ridge, or ridged on the back.
Shaped like a lance-head; or lancet-shaped; or tapering toward both ends and two or three times as long as broad.
Slender, pointed, arched window.
A vertical division (glass) of a window.
A decoration in mouldings like parallel folds of linen.
Timber or stone over a doorway or window.
A broad, especially rounded, segmental division.
A space between the corbels supporting a parapet, or an opening in the floor of a projecting gallery.
The day before Good Friday.
An ornamental edging or band projecting from a wall or other surface, as a fillet, astragal, bead, etc.
An upright division between the lights of windows, etc. When divided by mullions, thus a window is mullioned.
An ornament shaped like the head of a nail.
The main part or body of a church, usually containing the pews, generally west of the crossing, including or excluding its aisles.
A brick-sized piece of wood inserted in a wall to receive nails.
A brick filling between timbers in a partition.
A massive Romanesque style, prevalent in Normandy during the 10th-11th centuries and in England during the 11-12th centuries. Norman churches feature a semi-circular apse and great tower, deeply recessed doorways, small round-headed windows and arches, with zigzag, billet, nail-head and other characteristic ornaments.
A recess in a wall.
A place for private prayer; or a lectern for praying at.
Classical ornament resembling a symmetrical palm shoot.
A low wall along the edge of a roof, etc.
A plate or a communion plate or a chalice cover.
The support of a column, or a statue, vase, etc.
A triangular structure crowning the front of a Greek building, less steeply sloped than a gable. In later architecture a similar structure, triangular, rounded, etc, over a portico, door, window or niche.
A person who sorrows for sin; or a person who has confessed sin.
A late English style of Gothic architecture, late 14th to mid 16th-century, marked by vertical window-tracery, depressed or four-centre arch, fan-tracery vaulting and panelled walls.
Strong, solid support of a church structure.
A representation of the Virgin with the dead Christ across her knees.
Inlaid work with hard stones, e.g. jasper, agate, etc.
A square column, partly built into and partly protruding from a wall.
Basin for washing the communion vessels, usually found in the wall to the south of the altar.
The square block under the base of a column; or a block serving as a pedestal; or a flat-faced projecting band at the bottom of a wall.
A range of columns along the front or side of a building.
The share of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church allowed to a clergyman who officiates in it at stated times.
A resident clergyman who enjoys a prebend, or a canon.
An openwork design or ornament divided by cusps into four lobes.
The great religious revolution of the 16th century, which gave rise to the various evangelical or Protestant organisations of Christendom.
A painted or carved screen behind the altar.
Half-pier bonded into a wall and carrying one end of an arch.
Moulding in the shape of a cylinder.
The transition from Roman to Gothic architecture, featuring round arches and vaults.
In R.C. churches, a small bell rung to call attention to the more solemn parts of the services of Mass.
A sacristan; or a person in a cathedral who copies out music for the choir and takes care of the books.
An officer in a church who has care of the sacred vessels and other movables; or a sexton.
A room in a church were the sacred utensils, vestments, etc, are kept; or the vestry.
A sacred place or private room.
The hymn Holy, holy, holy, from Isa. vi; or music for the Sanctus.
A bell rung at the Sanctus; or the sacring bell.
The calling bell.
Curve, curved.. A scalloped ornament has an edge or border cut into scallops or curves.
A seat, especially of dignity or authority; or a throne, especially a bishop's; or the office of bishop of a particular diocese; or a diocese.
A tomb; or a recess, usually in the north chancel wall, or a structure placed in it, to receive the reserved sacrament and the crucifix from Maundy Thursday or Good Friday till Easter (Easter sepulchre); or a burial; or to entomb; or to enclose as a tomb.
A person in modified slavery, especially one attached to the soil. Also a villein.
A court where crimes are tried.
An officer of a church who rings a church bell, attends the clergyman, digs graves, etc.
A tall slender architectural structure tapering to a point.
Slanted or bevelled, as of the side of a doorway, window or other similar architectural feature.
A church or other tower with or without, including or excluding, a spire; or a structure surmounted by a spire; or the spire alone.
A canopied niche or seat; or a canopy.
A small slab; a panel, especially inscribed or for inscription; an inscribed plate hung up in fulfilment of a vow.
A canopy or its support, or both.
A tenth part; the tenth of the produce of land and stock allotted originally for church purposes.
Intersecting ribwork in the upper part of a window.
A screen enclosing a shrine.
The part of the church at right angles to the nave.
A three-lobed form, ornament or aperture, as in tracery.
A gallery, storey or arcade over an aisle.
A three-grooved tablet in the Doric frieze.
A small tower, usually attached to a building, for example a church. A turret often contains a winding or spiral stair.
Doric as modified by the Romans, with unfluted columns, and without triglyphs.
The surface between a lintel and the arch above it.
A tithe; exaction or payment of tithes; a district containing ten householders, each responsible for the behaviour of the rest.
A person who believes that Christ's body is everywhere, in
the Eucharist as elsewhere.
In oaths, for God's, or for God save (as in
uds my life).
The boss of a shield; or a knob.
A vase with a rounded body, usually a narrowed mouth and often
a foot, used to either keep or bury the ashes of the dead
in; or any repository for the dead; or a monumental imitation
of a burial urn.
An arched roof or ceiling; or a chamber with an arched roof
or ceiling, especially underground; or a burial chamber; or
to shape as a vault; or to roof with an arch.
Arched; or concave overhead; or covered with an arch or vault.
Originally a free villager, and later, circa 13th century,
a serf, free in relation to all but his Lord, and not absolutely
A wayside cross where penitents might pray.
The art of engraving on wood.
An open colonnade.
Any tree of genus Taxus, family Taxaceae, a division of the
group Coniferae, with narrow lanceolate or linear leaves,
especially Taxus baccata long planted in graveyards,
and sometimes used as a means of approximating the date of
churches. The wood of the Yew yields an elastic wood good
for bows. Yew can also mean a bow made of its wood or the
wood itself. Yew twigs are regarded as an emblem of grief.
A small room or closet of some kind, such as the sexton's
room over a church porch.