Belfry - Encyclopedia

BELFRY (Mid. Eng. berfrey, through Med. Lat. berefredus, from Teut. bergfrid or bercvrit, which, according to the New Eng. Dict., is a combination of bergen, to protect, and frida, safety or peace; the word thus meaning a shelter; the change from r to 1, - cf. almery for armarium, - wrongly associated the origin of the word with "bell," and aided the restriction in meaning), a word in medieval siege-craft for a movable W.4 wooden tower of several stages, protected with raw hides, used for purposes of attack; also a watch-tower, particularly one with an alarm bell; hence any detached tower or campanile containing bells, as at Evesham, but more generally the ringing room or loft of the tower of a church (see Tower).

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