Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Clerestory

An upper storey of a church, raised above the level of the aisles. The clerestory is often pierced with large windows, admitting welcome light into the nave. Many medieval churches were initially constructed without clerestories, but growing wealth and improved architectural techniques during the medieval period led to expansion upward, pushing the height of the nave up above the aisles, with the addition of a clerestory with windows. In some large churches the clerestory is topped with a third storey, called a triforium, often with blank arcading in place of windows.

Also sometimes spelled: clearstory

Related: Nave   Triforium  

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