Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches

History and Architecture


Loosely, the area between an arch and the springing line of the arch. Most commonly used to describe the area above a door and the arch that supports the doorway opening. During the late Saxon and Norman period, tympanums were often highly decorated with carvings, and these carvings are sometimes the most decorated area of the entire church! A common theme for carved tympanum decoration was Christ in Majesty, a figure of Christ seated within a vertical lezenge. Early Norman tympanums are often decorated with diamond or diaper pattern carving.

Related: Arch  

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Canute and his Danes defeated British forces under Edmund Ironside on 18 October, 1016

23 March, 1743

First English performance of Handel's Messiah

During the performance at Covent Garden, George II started the tradition of standing for the 'Hallelujah Chorus'

This monarch died at the abbey of St Gervais, near Paris

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