Turret, Touret, or Turette

Turret, Touret, or Turette a small tower: the name is also sometimes given to a large pinnacle. Turrets are employed in Gothic architecture for various purposes, and are applied in various ways; they also differ very greatly in their forms, proportions, and decorations. In many cases they are used solely for ornament; they are also often placed at the angles of buildings, especially castles, to increase their strength, serving practically as corner buttresses. Occasionally they carry bells or a clock, but one of the most common uses to which they are applied is to contain a newel, or spiral staircase: for this purpose they are usually found attached to church towers, forming an external projection, which very frequently terminates considerably below the top of the tower; but in some districts turrets of this kind generally rise above the tower, and are finished with a parapet or small spire. Turrets of all dates are sometimes perfectly plain and sometimes variously ornamented, according to the character of the prevailing style of architecture, the upper part being the most enriched, and not infrequently formed of open-work. In the Norman style the lower part is usually square, and this form is continued to the top, but the upper part is sometimes changed to a polygon or circle. Few turrets of this date retain their original terminations, but they appear to have been often finished with low spires, either square, polygonal, or circular, according to the shape of the turret. In the Early English and later styles they are most usually polygonal, but are sometimes square, and occasionally circular. The upper terminations are very various; in the Early English style spires prevail, but in the Decorated and Perpendicular not only spires, but parapets, either plain, battlemented, paneled, or pierced, and pinnacles are used. The peculiar kind of turrets often found attached to small churches and chapels, which have no towers to receive the bells, is designated by the term Bell-gable. SEE SPIRE; SEE TOWER.

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