Derived from the Latin word 'navis', meaning ship.  It was thought that the nave roof resembled an upside-down ship, or the Ark of Salvation.

The nave is the main body of the church.  Originally, the nave was unconsecrated and its maintenance was the responsibility of the congregation.

The nave was used for many functions.  In early days it was the scene of trial by ordeal, storage space for the arms which every parish had to provide (the regimental colours found in many churches remind us of this) and a venue for guild plays, processions, church ales and business.

a nave

(text and images courtesy of Heritage Inspired)