Early Gothic is the style of architecture that appeared in northern France, Normandy and then England between about 1140 and the mid-13th century. It combined and developed several key elements from earlier styles, particularly from Romanesque architecture, including the rib vault, flying buttress, and the pointed arch, and used them in innovative ways to create structures, particularly Gothic cathedrals and churches, of exceptional height and grandeur, filled with light from stained glass windows. Notable examples of early Gothic architecture in France include the ambulatory and facade of Saint-Denis Basilica; Sens Cathedral (1140); Laon Cathedral; Senlis Cathedral; (1160) and most famously Notre-Dame de Paris (begun 1160).
Early English Gothic was influenced by the French style, particularly in the new choir of Canterbury Cathedral, but soon developed it own particular characteristics, particularly an emphasis for length over height, and more complex and asymmetric floor plans, square rather than rounded east ends, and polychrome decoration, using Purbeck marble. Major examples are the nave and west front of Wells Cathedral, the choir of Lincoln Cathedral, and the early portions of Salisbury Cathedral.
Early Gothic was succeeded in the early 13th century by a new wave of larger and taller buildings, with further technical innovations, in a style later known as High Gothic.