Last edited 09 Jul 2021

Newel post

Stairs are used to create a pedestrian route between different vertical levels by dividing the height between the levels into manageable steps.

Stairs, in particular in domestic premises, may include guarding to one, or both sides, in the form of a banister, that is, an assembly of uprights and a handrail.

The main upright supporting the handrail, is known as the ‘newel post’. These are typically found at the bottom of stairs, but can also be found at the top, and in intermediate positions, such as landings.

Newel posts can be simple, or can be very ornate. Ornate newel posts may sit on a newel base, and be capped by a spherical finial. They can be solid or hollow constructions.

Newel post.jpg Simple newel post.JPG
Ornate newel post with finial. Simple newel post.

In medieval times, the newel (Old English: Noel, Nowel and Nuel) was the central column around which a spiral or circular staircase wound. In some parts of Northern England, the newel column would terminate above the uppermost level of steps and continue up to a vaulted roof where ribs would radiate from it, giving a palm-tree effect, as at Belsay Castle, Northumberland (14th century).

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