Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Church Architecture - Some Definitions

Aumbry 1) Someone who was meant to be called Audrey, but the vicar had a cold at the baptism. 2) Somewhere in an evangelical church to keep flowers.

Apse - circular recess where you can get a good signal for your mobile.

Balcony - traditionally where the youth group were parked during services in some non-conformist churches. If the youngest person in the gallery is over 70, it may be worth checking downstairs to see if anyone is left.

Box pews - place for arguing parishioners.

Buttress - something that holds the Church up (see "pillar of the Church")

Chancel - "Will we be able to move the choir?" - "Chancel be a fine thing."

Children's corner - some old toys and some old carpet. Less sound-retentive than their designers seem to imagine.

Choir Gallery - In some high Methodist chapels, the choir sit behind and above the pulpit. Handy if the preacher is talking out the back of their neck.

Choir stalls - a common problem in cold weather.  Best solved by switching the organ off and on again.

Coat of arms - reminder of who the Tudors really thought should be in charge.

Communion Rail - complaint that the vicar's started facing the wrong way.

Flying buttress - sign of a really fractious church meeting.

Font - Comic Sans in the Welcome Leaflet is always a bad sign.

Hot-air vents - effective method of heating roof spaces and the lower portions of people in cassocks.

List of vicars - a list of dead people,  with s couple of living ones at the end, and not much space after the last one. A living parable of the church's history and likely future.

Mural 1) Person called Muriel who was baptized by a vicar with a cold 2) (Last Judgement) - reminder that, at the last day, sinners will be covered in whitewash for 400 years.

Narthex - the Doctor's most deadly foe.

Pew - hard, cold,  ilong, impractical, immobile seat. Named after the fireman in Trumpton.

Popcorn maker - replacement for pulpit for Pentecost services.

Portico - door for posh people.

Pulpit - place for talking down to people. Now largely abandoned in favour of talking down to them from ground level.

Rood screen - not really rude, not a proper screen.

Victorian re-ordering - smug architectural and social disaster.

Whitewashed walls - reminder that some people really hate pleasure.

Vestibule - a small vest.

Vestry - place so cold you have to wear a vestibule.


  1. Notice board - place to keep all the old posters to save trips to the recycling bins.

  2. Porch - a gathering place for teenagers to socialise and drink with members of the opposite sex

  3. Popcorn Maker? You must have been watching the clip on Robb Sutherland's latest blog!


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