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Chimbleys

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.

September 19, 2018 — 8:37 pm
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