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The arcade on each side separates the nave from the side aisles, which allow people to move through the church to smaller side chapels.
These intermediate ribs are known as tiercerons, and signify a further development into the more complex and decorated vaults that are an integral part of the English Decorated and Perpendicular Gothic styles.
As a whole or in its individual parts, Southwell Minster is a brilliant example of medieval architecture in England and its rapid development over 200 years.
But as you move further east and enter the quire, the uncomplicated architecture and decoration gives way to pointed arches and curlicue embellishments.
The sense of moving to a different building and place are somewhat confusing at first, until you are fully inside the east end and find yourself enveloped in the Gothic style.
Now the arches were pointed at the top, and the decoration was more and more ornate.
Structurally, new techniques allowed for larger windows than were possible in the Romanesque idiom.Romanesque architecture, architectural style current in Europe from about the mid-11th century to the advent of Gothic architecture.A fusion of Roman, Carolingian and Ottonian, Byzantine, and local Germanic traditions, it was a product of the great expansion of monasticism in the 10th–11th century.The ceiling of Southwell Minster is a wooden barrel vault.The arches, column capitals, window surrounds, and portals are decorated with carved patterns that are geometric and straightforward.The nave is in the Norman, or Romanesque, architectural style.It is delineated by simple rounded – Roman – stone arches springing from heavy round stone columns.Each seat alcove is topped with decorated trefoil arches and a variety of leaves.The “Leaves of Southwell” have been documented as some of the best medieval stone carvings in England, and represent oak, ivy, hawthorn, grape, hops, and other flora.Although the material is stone, its lack of detailed texture gives it a plastic quality, especially when seen in some lights.The stone, Permian sandstone, has a warm cream color, while the heavy arches and massive walls impart a feeling of strength and permanence.