Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture

Statue Niche

A recess, usually in an exterior wall of a church, made for a statue to stand. Such niches are often empty, the statues having been removed during the Reformation. One common location for a statue niche is under the gable of the south porch, directly over the doorway into the porch. Another common location is set into the corner wall of a church, near the main path leading to the church door. Statue niches are also commonly built into reredos behind the high altar, or affixed to interior columns. They often are decoratively carved, with faux vaulting on the niche roof, and have an overhanging canopy of stone. Of course a niche may not necessarily have been built to display a statue, so just because a niche exists does not mean it was a statue niche.

Related: Altar   Canopy   Reredos   Vaulting   Porch  

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