For centuries, fireplaces were the central source of warmth in the home and an essential feature of any property. During medieval times, these grand structures served much more than just a heating element - they became elaborate architectural elements that could define almost any room’s style and bring rustic ambience to virtually any gathering space. Unlock their mysterious past as we explore the history behind medieval fireplaces and uncover why this century-old design has become such an iconic part of our modern day homes.
Fireplaces were an important part of the medieval lifestyle. They were a central point for domestic life, supplying heat and light. However, as people developed better techniques, the fireplaces were no longer the only source of heat.
Early fireplaces were open, allowing wood to burn in the hearth. In some cases, the hearth was enclosed by a stone wall or a wooden lintel. Sometimes, the hearth was backed by brick.
Smoke exited through holes in the roof. This helped keep the thatch from getting infected with bugs. During the early Middle Ages, most of the hearths were located in the main hall. The smoke was kept out of the rest of the room by the roof. Occasionally, a chimney was constructed to carry the smoke away.
By the 12th century, fireplaces had evolved into rectangular shapes. A grate was also used, providing a better draft. For coal, this was particularly important.
Hearths also had side openings for smoke to escape. Several small holes were also drilled under the roof of the house.
Later on, fireplaces became common in homes. Besides being used to warm up the household, fireplaces were also used for cooking. Depending on the style of house, the kitchen might have a fireplace, but it was not uncommon to have a hearth in the middle of the living room.
Medieval fireplaces were often used as decorations. They could be displayed on altars inside temples or on a wall shelf. Some even served as a centerpiece for fashioning furniture. If you want to create a fireplace, you can use the crafting recipe included in the Medieval Super Bundle. It is available on all game worlds, but you can only add it to your menu through the Medieval Super Bundle.
Before the Middle Ages, fireplaces were simple, with a lintel to protect the fire. In fact, the fire was the most common source of fear in prehistoric man. Luckily, cavemen were able to tame the flames. But the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning was still high.
Although the fireplaces were not as elaborate as those of the later period, they were still very useful. The fireplaces were designed for mass comfort. There were also projecting hoods to protect the fire from drafts. Moreover, the smoke exited through a hole in the roof or through the thatch.
These fireplaces were built on the ruins of the previous house. Some of the earliest examples can be found in south-eastern England. Other examples include the 12th-century Rochester Castle. Until the 14th century, rear guard bars were used to prevent logs from rolling into the room.
In the early Middle Ages, the hearth was typically in the center of the great medieval hall. The smoke from the fire would rise through a hole in the center of the roof, filtered through the thatch, and out the chimney. At the same time, the lords would gather around the large fire to discuss future plans.
During the late medieval period, fireplaces became larger and more luxurious. The spits for roasting food were supported by cob irons. Besides the fire dogs, there were also roof ventilators and louvers.