Decorated Gothic Period

Decorated Gothic Style spanned from 1300 – 1377 AD. Styles used in this era are also referred to as theMiddle Pointed, Geometric or Flamboyant styles. One of the most notable features of the Decorated style is the type of window tracery that was used in designs.

Tracery was used to decorate the large and wide windows of the time. These windows were subdivided by vertical bars of stone, known as mullions, and were adorned with an elaborate tracery that incorporated trefoils (three leaves), quatrefoils (four leaves) and geometrical figures. Decorated tracery is categorized into three types: geometrical, flowing and flamboyant.




Key Features:       

  • Distinctive window tracery that used trefoils and quatrefoils
  • Subdivision of windows by mullions (vertical bars of stone) which intersected with window tracery
  • Geometrical, flowing and flamboyant tracery styles
  • Internal columns that were more slender and elegant when compared to previous generations
  • Bolder moldings with the use of the ball-flower

The ball-flower and the four-leafed flower replaced the tooth ornamentation that was typically used in the Early English era. Ornaments around the windows were delicately carved and were based on nature. Decorated Gothic Architecture stayed true to inspirations from nature and earth. Often, color was used in ornamentation. However; much of the colored work was whitewashed over by Puritans or Georgians that occupied the buildings. Some of the colors in these designs can be recovered and seen with modern restoration.
 Moldings used were bolder and were cut with less depth. Designers used a narrow flat bend, also known as a fillet, with their moldings. Overall moldings were more shallow and thin, but there was a strong focus on the vine-leaf, the maple tree and leaf, and the oak tree and acorn in moldings, and in designs overall.
Groined roofs/vaults used an additional number of ribs and included natural foliage on their bosses.  Columns were more slender and elegant when compared to previous designs. Doorways of this style were large and heavily sculptured. Often, the doorways also had a rich canopy over them with crockets. Externally, buttresses had a variety of forms and varying degrees of decorative richness. Overtop the buttresses, architects used gargoyles or ornamental water-spouts for decoration. Images of birds, insects, and animals were sometimes created by artists and were incorporated internally and externally.
Generally speaking, Decorated Gothic Architecture can be described as simple and magnificent when comparing to the other  styles. Buildings created were viewed as simple in terms of the number of spaces used, but were viewed as magnificent because of the size of the windows and the flow and elegance of the tracery lines. The interior of the buildings were large and spacious, included an increased richness in groining and incorporated excessive ornamentation.
Trademark Buildings:

  • Exter Cathedral, Devon, England
  • Lichfield Cathedral, Straffordshire, England

Architecture Styles: