Spires and pinnacles are similarly composed at different scales. The tower and turret respectively are square in plan and each is covered with a pyramid structure to shelter it from the elements. Spires serve a religious function, towers for the ringing of bells whereas the more diminutive pinnacles add critical weight to further stabalise the buttresses precisely where it is required.
|Notre Dame de Paris|
As one might expect, carpentry played a major role even in the predominantly masonry construction of Gothic architecture. Aside from the supportive role of such equipment as scaffolding, workbenches, and various tools an indispensable use of timber framing was to build the centering for arches and vaults, acting as temporary supports until the masonry was completed. A permanent application of timber framing is the hidden thought highly complex structural support for the roof that protects the vulnerable stone ceilings from the elements.
Not all Gothic carpentry work is temporary or hidden from view. Elements such as doors, pulpits, and screens are typically made of wood. In domestic architecture the use of highly ornamental barge boards are used to protect the gable ends of buildings from water intrusion whereas in small churches, collegiate, and civic architecture it is more common to encounter splendid timber ceilings that look entirely differently than stone owing to the high tensile strength of wood as a material.
|St Agnes Church, Cawston|
Metal and Glass
Aside from the masons and timber framers, perhaps the next most important craft of Gothic architecture is plumbing, referring to the craftsmen who work with plumbum, or lead. Lead was used extensively as a means of protection from water intrusion including gutters and downspouts, flashing, and especially the incredibly durable lead roofs, some of which have lasted for centuries with minimal maintenance.
Wrought iron is another metal that finds extensive uses for hinges and other types of door and window hardware. It likewise features prominently in screens and stairs, the combination of strength and malleability of iron as a material allowing almost unrestricted ornamental expression.
|"Love" by Philip Webb|
Contributed by Patrick Webb