Flowing Tracery

When we pass from the west to the east side of the South Porch we have moved on in time at most a few decades but from the change of style it feels more like one or two centuries must have elapsed. How is this new style to be defined? It is easy to recognise but difficult to describe.

The Victorian antiquarian Edward Freeman commented: "Lines may branch in different directions in different parts of a window without offence. As the circle is the predominating and animating figure of the Geometrical style, so that of the Flowing is the vesica."

The vesica is a leaf shape, in its simplest form constructed by two circular arcs. When one or both ends are turned into ogees and cusps are added inside, a shape called a dagger is obtained. If the axis of the dagger is twisted the result can resemble a fish; the technical term is mouchette. These flexible elements when grouped together in tracery sometimes form shapes resembling plants or other natural forms.


The ogee is made up of pairs of convex and concave curves and ends in a sharp point rather than the common gothic point. It is a typical feature of the Decorated period and was used extensively in the 14th century for arches and monument canopies, for example, as well as appearing in window tracery.