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Uncle B is right — the previous post didn’t really do justice to the coolness of our inglenook. By Tudor standards, it isn’t huge — this was a farm cottage, not a great house — but it’s the most important characteristic of the house.

I tried to find a house plan that shows what I mean. I found the two above, that are kinda similar. The fireplace would have been the first thing built, then one gigantic main house timber (not present in the houses above) would be run through the middle of the chimney. Then everything else hung off of the main house timber.

Not only does that make the chimneystack the main structural (and physically central) member of the house, but it also serves as a sort of storage heater, absorbing the heat of the fire and then slowly releasing it. This is a huge innovation over the cottages (essentially miniature Medieval halls) of previous centuries, that had a central fire that burned in a firepit and just vented under the roof.

You’ll note the evolution of the fireplace is not complete, however. The great beam that goes crossways above the inglenook (see photo from yesterday) doesn’t stick out.

They had yet to invent the mantlepiece. They were waiting for Hallmark to invent the Christmas card.


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: September 19, 2018, 9:06 pm

Oh, that wasn’t all smartyweasel.

They needed stockings to be invented as well, and then transmogrified into Christmas stockings.

And the Mongols continued to live in Yurts, because they had no inglenooks on which to put mantels from which to hang their stockings. That’s why they invaded Europe.

It all makes sense of you scrunch your eyes up real tight and look at it in a dark room, and drink, a lot – kinda forms a penumbra around it don’t you know.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: September 19, 2018, 9:11 pm


Comment from Brother Cavil
Time: September 19, 2018, 9:28 pm

Them dirty Scandis and their Rooski cousins took it to the next step with the masonry stove. With which I have a slight obsession and absolutely want one if ever I get to have a proper Casa Cavil II.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: September 19, 2018, 11:21 pm

Nice! I grew up in Europe. I was used to the small fire boxes that were so efficient that 2 pieces of wood could heat a large house all day. I tried to google examples but my google-foo sucks after 2 beers. I was amazed when we visited my stateside families and saw open fireplaces! I loved the smell and the sound! I will miss all of that when I move to FL…but not enough that I’m willing to continue to spend 6 months of every year enduring the omnipresent grey.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: September 20, 2018, 8:49 am

Any chance of a picture of that inglenook & stove without the sweep blocking the view?

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: September 20, 2018, 12:36 pm

Living as I do in a pesthole climate where people have to jack their air-conditioning down to “extra cold” to have an excuse to light a fire at Christmas . . . I envy those of you with 4 seasons, real fireplaces, and chimneys.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: September 21, 2018, 9:38 pm

“one gigantic main house timber… would be run through the middle of the chimney.”

Really? A wooden structural member exposed to embers and heat, if not flame? It seems odd. In such cases, would the timber be encased in a masonry channel?

In what era was this practice ended? Because how would Santa get down a chimney with a beam across it?

Comment from Drew458
Time: September 22, 2018, 3:56 pm

Rich, I’ve seen colonial era homes in Rhode Island built the same way. One massive central pile of brick, with fireplaces at each of 3 floors. Santa could have driven his reindeer and sleigh down the chimney hole.

The main beam was supported by the outer bricks. It doesn’t actually go through the fire or smoke areas.

I think they stopped building this way when they ran out of 18″ X 24″ X 40 foot long oak timbers to support the house. Once upon a time the world was covered in giant ancient hardwood trees.

Comment from happy wheels
Time: November 2, 2018, 10:26 am

Very nice model, I enjoyed this model.

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