Lancet window

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Lancet windows at Hexham Abbey, UK

A lancet window is a tall, narrow window with a pointed arch at its top.[1] It acquired the "lancet" name from its resemblance to a lance.[2] Instances of this architectural motif are typical of Gothic ecclesiastical structures of the earliest period. Lancet windows may occur singly, or paired under a single moulding, or grouped in an odd number with the tallest window at the centre.

The motif first appeared in the French early-Gothic period (c. 1140–1200) and later in the English period of Gothic architecture (1200–1275). So common was the lancet window feature that this era is sometimes known as the "Lancet Period".[3]

The term "lancet window" is properly applied to windows of austere form, without tracery. Paired windows were sometimes surmounted by a simple opening such as a quatrefoil cut in plate tracery. This form gave way to the more ornate, multi-light traceried windowed.



  1. Buffalo Architecture, accessed 24 October 2006
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica Online accessed 24 October 2006
  3. Gothic Architecture in England accessed 24 October 2006