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Medieval Churches & Cathedrals

By Wesley Warner and Olivia Leroux

Evolut ion of t he Medieval
Cat hedral
The time in which the cathedrals were built was a very uncertain time. Life expectancy
was short, food was scarce, population was low, and finances were lacking. Builders
had to build on a huge scale without access to time saving tools that we have today,
like cranes and hoists. To build a cathedral, stone carvers, carpenters, a master mason,
an architect, a master stone cutter, laborers, a stone dresser, a black smith, plumbers,
a roofer, mortar makers, a glazier or glass maker, a stained glass craftsman, and
sculptors were needed.
“Cross-in-Square” 537 A.D.
This church, in 537 A.D. of
the medieval times, is built in
the “cross-in-square” style
which was made famous
from the Hagia Sophia ‘Holy
Wisdom Church” in
Constantinople. This church
became the capital of the
Byzantine empire. This was a
major breakthrough in
Orthodox Christian Church
Stability and Peace, 1000 A.D.

 In 1000 A.D., throughout

times of turmoil, a church
was a unit of stability and
peace. Monasteries had
influenced land
developments and the
Romanesque and Gothic
architecture styles were
developed and greatly
focused upon.
Loss of Spirit, 1500 A.D.
In this time period, church
towers were erected. But,
along with these new
cathedral characteristics, the
true spirit of medieval church
architecture was lost.
Accompanying the end of this
medieval cathedral period,
architecture quickly shifted
from Romanesque style to a
symbol of linear Norman
Styles of Architecture

 During the Medieval

Times, there were two
main types of
architecture. These two
styles were the basic
architecture of most
medieval cathedrals.
These styles consisted
of Gothic Architecture
and Romanesque Style
Romanesque Architecture

Descending from Roman

customs, Romanesque
Architecture is a cathedral
style architecture made
up of semi-circular,
pointed arches. With high
quality thick walls, sturdy
piers, large towers, groin
vaults and decorative
arcading, this
Romanesque style
became very popular for
all cathedral architecture
during the Medieval Ages.
Gothic Architecture

 Gothic architecture is a name

that evolved along with the
Medieval era. First know as
"the French style," this type
of architecture evolved
from Romanesque style
construction and was given
the name "gothic" during
the conclusion of the
Renaissance. With a great
range of designs, gothic
architecture was applied to
several cathedrals, parish
churches, abbeys, palaces,
castles and many
more famous structures of
Parts of the Gothic Cathedral
q 1 & 2. North & q13. Chapels
South Tower
q14. Flying
q 3. Western façade
But t resses
q 4. Narthex
q15. Rose
q 5. Nave
q 6. Aisles
q16. Spire
q 7. Crossing

q 8 & 9. North &


q 10. Choir

q 11. Apse

q 12. Ambulatory
Flying But t ress Ribbed Vault Point ed Arch

Characteristics of Gothic Cathedrals

•Stone was cut with precision

•Walls were solid- allowing them to hold far greater weights - the Gothic style of Castle Building and
Architecture provided much bigger castles.
•The use of the Gothic arch led to the construction of light and airy structures
•Wider window openings and Gothic Rose Windows.
•The introduction of flying buttresses.
•Decorative designs and sculptures including Gargoyles.
Limestone Purbeck Rock

Red Sandstone

Materials Used in Gothic Cathedrals

Limestone-Lim est one was t he m ost used m at erial in m aking t he
cathedrals. It was used to make the outer cathedral walls

Red Sandstone-Red Sandstone was a less common building material and was
used in the same way as limestone.

Purbeck Rock-Purbeck rock was mostly used to tile the cathedral floors
Uses of the Medieval Cathedral

 The cathedral is a symbol of god, his power, and

how people respected him. It was saw that the
more splendid the architecture, the more that
church praised god.

 The Roman Catholic Church was the largest unifying

structure in medieval Europe. Other than a small
number of Jews, it touched everyone's life from the
high class to the serfs.

 In the nave, an area which belonged to the

people of the parish, manor courts were often
held where tenants came to pay rent and
received a free meal for this duty.
Uses of the Medieval
Cat hedrals were not only a place t o worship God, but a
place t hat t owns people would go as a part of t heir
daily lives

 Services and Plays

 A Market

How They Were Built

A m edieval building sit e

could em ploy hundreds
of w orkers and people
w ould t ravel from m iles
around t o t ake part in
cat hedral building. A
craft sm an could begin
t he building of a
m edieval cat hedral and
even t hat m an's
grandson wouldn't see it
“Medieval Architecture.” History for Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May. 2010.
“Medieval Church Architecture” History Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May. 2010.
“Medieval Churches and Monasteries” Britain Express. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May.
St. Martin’s Cathedral. N.p. Michaela-August. Web. 3 May. 2010.
Notre Dame. N.p. Paris Lodging. Web. 4 May. 2010.
Stained Glass. N.p.Hhamovhotov. Web. 7 May. 2010.
Romanesque. N.p. Britannica. Web. 8 May. 2010.
Gothic Architecture. N.p. About. Web. 5 May. 2010.
Limestone. N.p. Lafayettemasonry. Web. 6 May. 2010.
Red Sandstone. N.p. Statesymbolsusa. Web. 4 May. 2010
Purbeck. N.p. Salvoweb. Web. 3 May. 2010.
Malmesbury Abbey. N.d. Malmesbury, England. Igougo. Web. 9 May 2010.
Parts of the Gothic Cathedral. N.d., n.p. Absolute Astronomy. Web. 10 May 2010