The Britannia Lexicon

PALATINATE :
in England, a county in which the tenant-in-chief exercises powers normally reserved for the king, including the exclusive right to appoint justiciar, hold courts of chancery and exchequer, and to coin money. The king's writ is not valid in a County Palatinate.

PALISADE :
sturdy wooden fence usually built to enclose a site until a permanent stone wall can be constructed.

PATENT :
formal document conferring a grant, which could be land, a title, an office, or an annuity.

PATERA :
small square or circular ornament spaced at regular intervals in a hollow moulding.

PEDIMENT :
classical low-pitched version of the Gothic gable

PENDANT :
hanging ornament from a mediaeval roof.

PERPENDICULAR :
the last phase in the development of English architecture, most common during the period (1350-1550).

PILASTER :
pier or pillar attached to wall.

PILASTER STRIP :
Saxon method of building with upright stones forming a rough pilaster.

PINNACLE :
stone or timber shaft with an elongated head, croeketed at the angles and completed by a finial.

PISCINA :
recess with basin and drain, usually in south wall of sanctuary, for washing the sacred vessels.

PITCH :
the slope or shape of the sides of a roof to the horizon.

PLATE TRACERY :
the first form of tracery of a flat surface pierced with openings in contradistinction to bar-tracery.

PLOUGH-SHARE :
when a vault is skewed away from a window and does not follow its natural radius.

POLL TAX:
capitation or head tax.

POLYGONAL :
many sided, having many angles.

PORTCULLIS :
wood and iron grille-pattern gate which was raised and lowered in grooves by ropes or chains in or in front of or behind an entrance.

POSSESSIONERS :
someone holding a religious endowment.

POSTERN :
small, less important entrance into a castle, usually on its side or rear flanks, used as a getaway.

PRAEMUNIRE :
the exercising of ecclesiastical jurisdiction without the king's consent, an offence at common law, originating in a statute of 1393.

PREBENDARY :
Canon; adj. prebendal.

PREHEND :
portion of church or cathedral revenue granted as a stipend to a canon or other clergy.

PRESBYTERY :
the shorter, eastern arm of a cathedral or church (chancel), also, the sanctuary of a church, or a priest's house.

PRESCRIPTIVE RIGHT :
right gained via customary use.

PRIMOGENITURE :
the right of the eldest son to inherit the estate or office of his father.

PRINCIPAL :
the frame holding up a roof and forming the point where the weight of the roof is conveyed by the purlins.

PRIORY :
religious house, subordinate to an abbey, administered by a prior or prioress. If the prior was subject to a resident abbot, the house is called an abbey or monastery. The title prioress is held in certain religious houses for women.

PROCTOR :
steward, or the equivalent of a solicitor in a canon or civil law court.

PROGRESS :
state journey made by a ruler or dignitary; provincial tour, or visitation, usually by the monarch. A progress was distinguished from less formal travel by the existence of 'geistes' or itineraries.

PROVISIONS and PURVEYANCE :
the right claimed by the king on a progress (and extended to his suite) to seize horses, carts, food, etc., and pay what he liked (sometimes, nothing).

PULPITUM :
stone screen dividing chancel from nave in major church.

PURLIN :
the horizontal cross-bars of timber from principal to principal which frame the roof holding up the rafters.

PUT-LOG :
beam inserted into special hole in a great tower or gatehouse or curtain to support hoarding, or as scaffolding for building or repairs.




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