HERRING-BONE, a term in architecture applied to alternate courses of bricks or stone, which are laid diagonally with binding courses above and below: this is said to give a better bond to the wall, especially when the stone employed is stratified, such as Stonefield stone, and too thin to be laid in horizontal courses. Although it is only occasionally found in modern buildings, it was a type of construction constantly employed in Roman, Byzantine and Romanesque work, and in the latter is regarded as a test of very early date. It is frequently found in the Byzantine walls in Asia Minor, and in Byzantine churches was employed decoratively to give variety to the wall surface. Sometimes the diagonal courses are reversed one above the other. Examples in France exist in the churches at Querqueville in Normandy and St Christophe at Suevres (Loir et Cher), both dating from the 10th century, and in England herring-bone masonry is found in the walls of castles, such as at Guildford, Colchester and Tamworth. The term is also applied to the paving of stable yards with bricks laid flat diagonally and alternating so that the head of one brick butts against the side of another; and the effect is more pleasing than when laid in parallel courses.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)