/bel"free/, n., pl. belfries.1. a bell tower, either attached to a church or other building or standing apart.2. the part of a steeple or other structure in which a bell is hung.3. a frame of timberwork that holds or encloses a bell.4. Slang. head; mind: a belfry full of curious notions.[1225-75; ME belfray, appar. b. earlier berfray ( < MF < Gmc) and ML belfredus, dissimilated var. of berefredus < Gmc; cf. MHG ber(c) frit, equiv. to berc defense, protection, refuge (c. OE gebeorg; see HARBOR) + frit peace, (place of) safety (c. OE frith)]
* * *Bell tower, either freestanding or attached to another structure.More particularly it refers to the room, usually at the top of such a tower, where the bells and their supporting timberwork are hung. The belfry is a prominent feature of Belgian Gothic architecture, especially in Flanders. The Halles (Market Hall) and belfry in Brugge (late 13th century) is a typical example. The term derives from the medieval siege tower (berfrei), a tall wooden structure that could be rolled up to a fortification wall so that the warriors hidden inside could storm the battlements.
* * *bell tower, either attached to a structure or freestanding. More specifically, it is the section of such a tower where bells hang, and even more particularly the timberwork that supports the bells.Etymologically, belfries have nothing to do with bells. The word is derived from the Old French berfrei or a similar word used in the Middle Ages to denote a wooden tower employed in besieging fortifications. The word assumed its current use through a popular association of it with “bell.”The belfrey, called by that name, is a prominent feature of Belgian Gothic architecture, especially in Flanders where a flat countryside heightens the dramatic impact of towers. The Halles (Market Hall) and belfrey at Brugge (late 13th century) is typical. Medieval England's best example is the church of St. Andrew, Heckington, Lincolnshire, which displays the familiar attached steeple. This belfry has louver windows allowing the bells to be heard clearly while being sheltered from the weather.A bell cote, or cot, is a bell gable, or turret, a framework for hanging bells when there is no belfry. It may be attached to a roof ridge, as an extension of the gable, or supported by brackets against a wall.
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