Parvise or parvis may refer to:

  1. A room over the porch of a church — quite often found in Norman churches in England. In some churches these rooms were used for school rooms and in Castle Ashby was the home of a woman - who saved the manor house from burning when she saw the fire taking hold from her room.
  2. The enclosed area or court in front of a building — particularly a building such as a cathedral or a church. In some places they are like a cloister, surrounded with either colonnades or porticoes. As a result, when applied to a single portico or colonnade in front of a church, this gives rise to the description of a church porch.

The word 'parvis' derives via Old French from the Late Latin 'paradisus', meaning 'paradise'.[1] The word 'paradise' itself comes to us, via Classical Greek and Latin, from the Indo-European (Aryan) languages of ancient Iran, where the meaning signified a 'walled enclosure' or garden precinct.

The parvis of St. Paul's

At the parvis of St Paul's Cathedral, the Serjeants-at-law originally practised in mediaeval times, and there clients could seek their counsel.[2] Subsequently, the ecclesiastical courts developed at Doctors' Commons on the same site.

Examples of parvises


See also

  1. The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2005
  2. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Ed. E. A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press, 2006
  3. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Ed. T. F. Hoad. Oxford University Press, 1996.