• Late Latin: berefredus, watch-tower


The upper section of a church steeple containing bells, or a bell-tower independent of other buildings. The term is also applied to the frame supporting the bells and the room from which they are rung. They originated in movable towers of wood used anciently in attacking fortified places. Later, stationary towers were used as lookouts and as watchtowers on public buildings, being equipped with bells in the 12th and 13th centuries, to warn of danger, assemble meetings, etc. Towns rivaled each other in the splendor of their belfries, which were considered symbols of power. That of Bruges, Belgium is considered the finest in Europe, while those of Ghent, Belgium and Pisa, Italy are notable. Tournai, Belgium has probably the oldest belfry in existence.

MLA Citation

  • “belfry“. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 August 2018. Web. 22 January 2019. <>