World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Belfry (architecture)

Article Id: WHEBN0000380117
Reproduction Date:

Title: Belfry (architecture)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Belfry, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Old Town Hall, Lo, Transom (architectural), Blagovest
Collection: Architectural Elements, Bells (Instrument)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Belfry (architecture)

A belfry at the Buddhist Motsuji temple, Hiraizumi, Japan

The belfry is a structure enclosing bells for ringing as part of building, usually as part of a bell tower or steeple. It can also refer to the entire tower or building, particularly in continental Europe for such a tower attached to a city hall or other civic building.

A belfry encloses the bell chamber, the room in which the bells are housed; its walls are pierced by openings which allow the sound to escape. The openings may be left uncovered but are commonly filled with louvers to prevent rain and snow from entering. There may be a separate room below the bell chamber to house the ringers.

Assumption Belfry (left center) next to the Ivan the Great bell tower


The word belfry comes from Old French berfrei which is derived from Germanic *bergan "to protect" and *frithuz "peace"; that is, it was originally a watch tower providing protection against hostile incursions. In larger towns, watchmen in these towers were also on the lookout for fires. Though flags were used by the watchmen for communication, these towers usually contained an alarm bell or bells built into a Bell-Cot, thus Middle English speakers thought berfrei had something to do with bells: they altered it to belfry, an interesting example of the process of folk etymology.[1] Today's Dutch belfort combines the term "bell" with the term "stronghold". It was a watchtower that a city was permitted to build in its defence, while the Dutch term klokkenstoel (bell-chair) refers only to the construction of the hanging system, or the way the bell or bells are installed within the tower.

See also


  1. ^  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.