"the Romanesque narthex"
Narthex of the church of St Philibert Abbey, Tournus, France
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNarthex of the church of St Philibert Abbey, Tournus, France - Credit: D Villafruela

 Romanesque is the name given to the European architectural period which precedes the 12th century Gothic period. The starting point of the Romanesque style is loosely dated as being between the 6th and the 10th century.

Characteristic of Romanesque architecture are solid massive walls, large towers, and rounded arches. Overall, the style conveys a sense of simplicity, particularly when compared with the Gothic style. In England, Romanesque architecture is usually described as Norman architecture.

In early Christian churches, the narthex was the entrance area or lobby, situated at the west end of the nave. Traditionally, it was not viewed as part of the church itself, and its original purpose was to allow individuals who were not allowed into the church to listen to, and take part in the service.