OF THE TECHNICAL TERMS USED IN THE INVENTORY
Almain Rivet—Light half armour with open headpiece.
Anta(e)—In Classical architecture, a pilaster terminating a
range of columns in the manner of a respond, with base
and capital differing from those of the columns. In antis,
placed in a line between paired anta-responds.
Arch—Four-centred, a pointed arch of four arcs, the two outer
and lower ones struck from centres on the springing line
and the two inner and upper ones from centres below the
springing line. Sometimes the two upper arcs are replaced
by straight lines.
Segmental, a single arc struck from a centre below the springing line.
Three-centred, formed with three arcs, the middle or uppermost struck from a centre below the springing line.
Architrave—The lowest member of an entablature (q.v.);
often adapted as a surround to a doorway or window
Arris—The sharp edge formed by the meeting of two surfaces.
Ashlar—Masonry wrought to an even face and square
Attic Base—A moulded column-base with a profile comprising two torus mouldings divided by a scotia between two
fillets. In Romano-British examples the fillets are often
Bailey—The courtyard enclosure of a castle.
Baluster—A vertical support to a rail, especially a stair rail.
Balustrade, a range of small balusters supporting a rail,
coping or cornice.
Band or Plat-Band—A flat projecting horizontal band of
masonry or brickwork across the face of a building, as
distinct from a moulded string.
Barbican—An advanced work before the gate of a castle or
fortified town; usually applied to the outwork intended
to defend the drawbridge.
Baroque—A style of architecture and decoration emerging in
the 17th century which uses the repertory of Classical
forms with great freedom to emphasise the unity and
pictorial character of its effects. The term is also applied
to sculpture and painting of a comparable character.
Bartizan—A small turret that projects from the angle, the
parapet or other upper part of a tower or building.
Bastion—An outward projection from a defensive wall,
enabling the garrison to see and to defend from the flanks
the ground before the rampart.
Batter—Descriptive of the backward slope of a wall face.
Bay—The vertical compartment between two columns, roof
trusses, buttresses, etc.
Berm—In earthworks, the level strip of ground between a
bank or wall and the accompanying ditch or scarp.
Brace—In timber framing and roof construction, a subsidiary
oblique timber inserted between major members to give
rigidity; a brace rises from a vertical member to support a
Carucate—A ploughland. Originally an area of arable land
which a plough team could keep in cultivation, but by
1086 a unit of tax assessment.
Chamberlain—an officer who receives the rents and revenues
of a corporation.
Chamfer—The small plane formed when the sharp edge or
arris of stone or wood is cut away, usually at an angle of
45°; when the plane is concave it is termed a hollow
chamfer, and when the plane is sunk a sunk chamfer.
Coffers—Sunk panels in ceilings, vaults, domes, and archsoffits.
Collar Beam—In a roof, a horizontal beam framed to and
serving to tie together a pair of rafters some distance above
the wall-plate level.
Corbel—A projecting stone or piece of timber for the support
of a superincumbent weight.
Cornice—A crowning projection. In Classical architecture,
the crowning or upper portion of the entablature.
Cover Paten—A cover to a communion cup, used as a paten.
Crenellated—Furnished with battlements.
Curtain, Curtain Wall—The connecting wall between the
towers or bastions of a castle.
Cusps (cusping, sub-cusps)—The projecting points forming the
foils in Gothic windows, arches, panels, etc.; they were
frequently ornamented at the ends (cusp points) with
leaves, flowers, berries, etc.
Demi-Culverin—A cannon of about 4½ ins. bore.
Dentils—The small rectangular tooth-like blocks used
decoratively in Classical cornices.
Dressings—The stone or brickwork used about an angle,
window, or other feature when worked to a finished face,
whether smooth, tooled or rubbed, moulded or sculptured.
Embrasures—The openings or sinkings in embattled parapets,
or the recesses for window, doorways, etc.
Entablature—In Classical or Renaissance architecture, the
moulded horizontal superstructure of a wall, colonnade,
or opening. A full entablature consists of an architrave,
frieze, and cornice.
Entasis—The convexity or swell on a vertical line or surface,
to correct the optical illusion of concavity in the sides
of a column or spire when the lines are straight.
Falchion—A sword more or less curved, with the cutting
edge on the convex side.
Fascia—A plain or moulded facing board.
Firelock—A type of musket fired by a spark mechanically
struck from flint and steel.
Flail or Sweep—A swivelling closing bar on the inside of a
gate or gates.
Foil (trefoil, quatrefoil, cinquefoil, etc.)—A leaf-shaped space
defined by the curves formed by the cusping in an
opening or panel.
Gablet Roof—Inward sloping on all four sides, but with
small gables in the upper part of the ends.
Garderobe—Wardrobe. Antiquarian usage applies it to a
latrine or privy chamber.
Gargoyle—A carved projecting figure pierced or channelled
to carry off the rainwater from the roof of a building.
Gorge—The neck of a bastion or outwork; the rear entrance
to a work.
Graffito(i)—Scratched inscription or design.
Guilloche—A geometrical ornament consisting of two or
more intertwining wavy bands forming a series of circles.
Guttae—Small stud-like projections under the triglyphs and
mutules of the Doric entablature.
Hackbuss—A hand gun with a hook or stop projecting below
Helm—Complete barrel or dome-shaped head defence of
plate. No longer used in warfare after the middle of the
14th century, it continued in use in the tiltyard into the
Hipped Roof—A roof with sloped instead of vertical ends.
Hood Mould (label, drip stone)—A projecting moulding on
the face of a wall above an arch, doorway, or window; it
may follow the form of the arch or be square in outline.
Husband—The manager of a household or establishment; a
housekeeper or steward.
Impost—The projection, often moulded, at the springing of
an arch, upon which the arch appears to rest.
In Antis—See Anta.
Jambs—1. The sides of an archway, doorway, window, or
Jambs—2. In armour, (greaves) plate defences for the legs
below the knees.
Joists—The horizontal timbers in a floor, on which the
flooring is laid.
Label—See Hood Mould.
Lintel—The horizontal beam or stone bridging an opening.
Lunette—A round or oval window in a ceiling, vault, or
Merlon—The solid upstanding part of an embattled parapet
between the embrasures.
Modillions—Brackets under the cornice in Classical architecture.
Motte—In earthworks, a steep mound, flat-topped, forming
the main feature of an 11th or 12th-century castle and
originally often surmounted by a timber tower; usually
associated with a Bailey (q.v.), hence 'motte-and-bailey'
Motte-and-Bailey Castle. See Motte.
Mullion—A vertical post, standard, or upright dividing an
opening into lights.
Muntin—In panelling, an intermediate upright, butting into
or stopping against the rails.
Murage—A tax levied for the building or maintenance of
Murder Hole—A hole in the vault or roof of a gateway for
use against attackers.
Murdor or Murderer—a breech-loading cannon of comparatively large bore, possibly mounted on a swivel.
Muremaster or Murenger—An officer whose duty it was to
keep the walls of a city in repair.
Newcomen Engine—An atmospheric steam engine invented
by Thomas Newcomen (1603–1729).
Offset—A ledge formed by the setback of a wall.
Oillet—Small wall openings. The usage here is generally to
the small rounded enlargements of the extremities of
Pediment—A low-pitched gable used in Classical and Renaissance architecture above a portico, at the end of a building,
or above doors, windows, niches, etc.; sometimes the
gable angle is omitted, forming a broken pediment, or the
horizontal members are omitted, forming an open pediment. A curved gable-form is sometimes used in this way.
Pelta—A device, common in mosaic, based on the crescentic
Amazonian shield of this name.
Pilaster—A shallow pier of rectangular section attached to
Plinth—The projecting base of a wall or column, generally
chamfered or moulded at the top.
Porta Decumana—The rear gate of a Roman fortress.
Porta Principalis Dextra—This and the porta principalis
sinistra were the two lateral gates of a Roman fortress,
linked by the main cross street, via principalis. The gate lay
to the right as one looked towards the porta praetoria from
the headquarters building.
Porta Principalis Sinistra—See Porta Principalis Dextra.
Portcullis—A movable gate, rising and falling in vertical
grooves in the jambs of an archway.
Portico—A covered entrance to a building, colonnaded, either
constituting the whole front of the building or forming
an important feature.
Purlin—In roof construction, a horizontal timber resting on
the principal rafters of a truss, and forming an intermediate support for the common rafters.
Quadrilobate—Having four lobes.
Quoins—The dressed stones at the angle of a building, or
distinctive brickwork in this position.
Rampart—An artificial defensive bank.
Responds—The half-columns or piers at the ends of an arcade
or abutting a single arch.
Reveal—The internal side surface of a recess, especially of a
doorway or window opening.
Rustication—Primarily, masonry in which only the margins
of the stones are worked, also used for any masonry where
the joints are emphasised by mouldings, grooves, etc.;
rusticated columns are those in which the shafts are interrupted by square blocks of stone or broad projecting
Saker—A type of cannon of about 3½ins. bore, smaller than
Sallet or Salade—A light open headpiece, though sometimes with a vizor, usually worn in conjunction with
a separate bevor. It is characterised by a tail.
Scarp—In fortification, an artificial defensive slope facing
away from the defenders; particularly the inner slope of
a defensive ditch, of which the opposite outer slope is the
Serpentine—A type of light cannon.
Sherd—A fragment of pottery.
Shoulder-headed—Having a lintel supported on corbels each
with a concave profile.
Splay—A sloping face making an angle of more than a right
angle with another face, as in internal window-jambs, etc.
Splints—In armour terminology, skeletal plate defences for
the limbs, probably pre-assembled for ease of arming,
providing part as against full protection for reasons of
lightness and, presumably, economy.
Straight Joint—A vertical joint in a wall continuing through
two or more courses.
String—A projecting moulded band across a wall, also string-course, string-mould. In a staircase, the bottom member
supporting the treads.
Styca—A base silver or bronze Northumbrian coin of the
Tie Beam—The horizontal transverse beam in a roof, tying
together the feet of pairs of rafters to counteract thrust.
Timber-framed Building—A building of which the walls are
built of open timbers and the interstices filled in with
brickwork or lath and plaster ('wattle and daub'), the
whole often covered with plaster or boarding.
Transom—An intermediate horizontal bar of stone or wood
across a window opening. The horizontal member of
a door frame beneath a fanlight.
Triglyphs—Blocks with vertical channels, placed at intervals
along the frieze of the Doric entablature.
Truss—A number of timbers framed together to bridge a
space, to be self-supporting, and to carry other timbers.
Vaulting—An arched ceiling or roof of stone or brick, sometimes imitated in wood and plaster. A ribbed vault is a
framework of arched ribs carrying the covering of the
spaces between them. One bay of vaulting divided into
four quarters or compartments is termed quadripartite; but
often the bay is divided longitudinally into two subsidiary bays, each equalling a bay of the wall-supports, the
vaulting bay being thus divided into six compartments,
and is termed sexpartite.
Voussoirs—The wedge-shaped stones forming an arch.
Wall Plate—A timber laid lengthwise on the wall to receive
the ends of the rafters and joists. In timber framing the
studs too are tenoned into it.
Weathering (to sills, tops of buttresses, etc.)—A sloping surface for casting off water.
Weather Moulding—A moulding projecting from the face
of a wall to cast off water.