Spire


Spire
Spire
A tapering construction in plan conical, pyramidal, octagonal, or hexagonal crowning a steeple or tower

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Spire
    Spire
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Spire
    (From the Anglo-Saxon word spir, meaning "a stalk" or "shoot").
     A tapering construction — in plan conical, pyramidal, octagonal, or hexagonal — crowning a steeple or tower, or surmounting a building, and usually developed from the cornice; often pierced by ornamental openings and, where there were ribs, enriched with crockets. Sometimes an open lantern was interposed between the steeple, tower, or roof and the spire. On the continent the architects aimed to make the steeple and spire one, merging them into each other, while in England they openly confessed it was a separate structure by masking its point of origin behind a plain or pierced parapet, or ornamental battlements. A spire properly belongs to Pointed architecture and hence has never been fully developed except in Gothic buildings. As early as the twelfth century they took on different forms, and almost everywhere, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, became the terminating construction of every church steeple, tower, or lantern, and also those of secular buildings, more especially in Germany and France. Their decorative value was very great, more particularly in varying and enriching the sky-line of the buildings which they crowned, and by the numerous variations of forms and variety of types employed. These forms from such simple examples as that surmounting the south tower of Chartres Cathedral to that of Burgos, where the whole structure is an openwork of tracery. In England Norman churches were without spires, but with the coming in of Early English short ones were introduced; Decorated Gothic called for much higher ones, and the Perpendicular still higher. The earlier spires were generally built of timber, and they were always so when the building was roofed with wood.
    These early timber spires were, as a rule, not very tall, but later they reached a greater elevation; that which crowned old St. Paul's in London is said to have been 527 feet in height. The most lofty spires now in existence — such as those of Salisbury, Coventry, and Norwich — are all of stone. In Central England there are many, and in fact wherever suitable stone was easily obtainable. In the north of England, however, in Scotland, and in Wales among the mountains the bell-gable takes the place of a spire, no doubt because the large area of the thinly populated parishes made it necessary to keep the bells uncovered, so that they might be more widely heard. The most beautiful examples of existing spires are to be seen at Chartres, Reims, Laon, Freiburg, Ratisbon, cologne, Antwerp, Vienna, Burgos, and Salisbury. On some of these buildings there are several spires, in many instances built at different periods: the south spire of Chartres, culminating in a pinnacle 350 feet above the ground, was erected in 1175, while the north spire, with its apex 380 feet above the ground, was not finished until 1513. The so-called spires of the Renaissance and those built by Sir Christopher Wren are not true spires, but merely steeples terminating in a point.
    Above illustration: one spire of the Votivkirche, Vienna — Ferstel
    CARYL COLEMAN
    Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

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  • SPIRE — Le premier établissement humain qui est à l’origine de la ville de Spire (en allemand: Speyer) date de l’époque celte: Noviomagus. Installé sur une terrasse du Rhin, il devait devenir un camp romain sous César et Drusus. La cité qui en naquit fut …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Spire — Spire, n. [OE. spire, spir, a blade of grass, a young shoot, AS. sp[=i]r; akin to G. spier a blade of grass, Dan. spire a sprout, sprig, Sw. spira a spar, Icel. sp[=i]ra.] 1. A slender stalk or blade in vegetation; as, a spire grass or of wheat.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spire — Spire, n. [L. spira coil, twist; akin to Gr. ???: cf. F. spire.] 1. A spiral; a curl; a whorl; a twist. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. (Geom.) The part of a spiral generated in one revolution of the straight line about the pole. See {Spiral}, n. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spire — Spire, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Spired}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spiring}.] To shoot forth, or up in, or as if in, a spire. Emerson. [1913 Webster] It is not so apt to spire up as the other sorts, being more inclined to branch into arms. Mortimer. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spire — puede referirse a: Chicago Spire: Rascacielos que actualmente se encuentra en construcción en Chicago, (Estados Unidos). Spire de Dublín: La escultura de mayor altura del mundo, situada en una céntrica calle de la ciudad de Dublín (Irlanda). Esta …   Wikipedia Español

  • Spire — Spire, v. i. [L. spirare to breathe. See {Spirit}.] To breathe. [Obs.] Shenstone. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spire — [spaıə US spaır] n ↑spire, ↑cross [: Old English; Origin: spir] a roof that rises steeply to a point on top of a tower, especially on a church →↑steeple …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • spire — spire1 [spīr] n. [Fr < L spira < Gr speira < IE base * sper , to turn, wrap > Latvian sprangāt, to lace up] 1. a spiral or coil 2. any of the convolutions of a spiral or coil 3. Zool. the upper part of a spiral shell of a gastropod… …   English World dictionary

  • spire — [ spaır ] noun count the pointed top of a church tower or other building …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • spire — O.E. spir sprout, shoot, stalk of grass, from P.Gmc. *spiraz (Cf. O.N. spira a stalk, slender tree, M.L.G. spir a small point or top ), from PIE *spei sharp point (see SPIKE (Cf. spike) (n.1)). Meaning tapering top of a tower or steeple first rec …   Etymology dictionary


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