Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Belfry Definition

History and Architecture

Belfry

The original meaning of belfry was a moveable tower, of the sort used by armed forces besieging a castle. By the medieval period the term had come to mean a watch tower, or tower used to house an alarm bell. The term gradually came to be used for a church tower, and then specifically that upper part of the tower where church bells hang. It is still sometimes used to refer to the entire bell tower, but more often to the bell chamber within the tower. From the exterior, the location of this chamber can be determined by the location of louvered window openings which allow the sound of the ringing bells to carry over the surrounding area.

Related: Bell Tower  

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