Looking at Buildings

Building Types

The 12th Century

By the 12th century, influenced by the building campaigns of the great churches, local churches were being rebuilt in stone, at first in the RomanesqueGlossary Term styles, and by the end of the 12th century adopting some of the GothicGlossary Term features developed in greater churches. The simplest type had a chancelGlossary Term with a stone altar where the priest could celebrate mass and a naveGlossary Term where the lay people congregated.



The eastern part or end of a church, where the altar is placed; usually set apart for the clergy.


The style of the Middle Ages from the later 12th century to the Renaissance, with which it co-existed in certain forms into the 17th century. Characterized in its full development by the pointed arch, the rib-vault and an often skeletal masonry structure for churches, combined with large glazed windows. The term was originally associated with the concept of the barbarian Goths as assailants of classical civilization.


The body of a church west of the crossing or chancel, often flanked by aisles.


The dominant style of Western Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries. It is associated especially with the expansion of monasticism and the building of large stone churches, and is characterized by massive masonry, round-headed arches and vaulting inspired by ancient Roman precedent, and by the use of stylized ornament. In England it is commonly known as Norman.