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Styles & Traditions

Groin Vaults

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Canterbury Cathedral, Kent., Crypt

GROINGlossary Term VAULTS are formed from two intersecting barrel vaults (the groins are the edges of the intersections). They are built of heavy rubbleGlossary Term masonry and so need adequate support. They were used in the large crypts introduced by the Normans below their new abbeys and cathedrals, where the space was divided into a series of small bays by numerous columns, as at Canterbury, Worcester and Gloucester.



Sharp edge at the meeting of two compartments (cells) of a groin-vault.


Masonry whose stones are wholly or partly in a rough state. Coursed: coursed stones with rough faces. Random: uncoursed stones in a random pattern. Snecked: with courses broken by smaller stones (snecks).