1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Perpendicular Period

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PERPENDICULAR PERIOD, the term given by Thomas Rickman to the third period of Gothic architecture in England, in consequence of the great predominance of perpendicular lines. In the later examples of the Decorated period the omission of the circles in the tracery had led to the employment of curves of double curvature which developed into flamboyant tracery, and the introduction of the perpendicular lines was a reaction in the contrary direction. The mullions of the windows (which are sometimes of immense size, so as to give greater space for the stained glass) are carried up into the arch mould of the windows, and the upper portion is subdivided by additional mullions. The buttresses and wall surface are likewise divided up into vertical panels. The doorways are frequently enclosed within a square head over the arch mouldings, the spandrils being fitted with qua trefoils or tracery. Inside the church the triforium disappears, or its place is filled with panelling, and greater importance is given to the clerestory windows which constitute the finest features in the churches of this period. The mouldings are flatter and less effective than those of the earlier periods, and one of the chief characteristics is the introduction of large elliptical hollows. The finest features of this period are the magnificent timber roofs, such as those of Westminster Hall (1395), Christ Church Hall, Oxford, and Crosby Hall.

The earliest examples of the Perpendicular period, dating from 1360, are found at Gloucester, where the masons of the cathedral would seem to have been far in advance of those in other towns. Among other buildings of note are the choir and tower of York Cathedral (1389-1407); the nave and western transepts of Canterbury Cathedral (1378-1411), and the tower (towards the end of the 15th century); New College, Oxford (1380–1386); the Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick (1381–1391), the nave and aisles of Winchester Cathedral (1399–1419); the transept and tower of Merton College, Oxford (1424–1450); Manchester Cathedral (1422); the central tower of Gloucester Cathedral (1454–1457), and that of Magdalen College, Oxford (1475–1480). To those examples should be added the towers at Wrexham, Coventry, Evesham, and St Mary’s at Taunton, the first being of exceptional magnificence.