November 12, 2005

Here's a Question For You

I'm trying to do some research on fireplaces. Haven't had a lot of luck online, so I'm tossing it out here. So far, all I've been able to discover is that:

About the 12th century the fireplace was moved from its central location to a perimeter wall and eventually the fireplace began to be enclosed by side walls and covered with a smoke hood. The necessity for having a large hearth to burn big logs increased the size of collecting hoods and their supporting side walls in large, drafty common halls. The result was literally the building of little rooms within large ones.

But when in the 12th century? And at what point did it start turning into the fireplace corner?

It's not a huge important thing, just a litte humourous scene leading to a flashback in fic I'm wanting to write. And I always have a bee in my bonnet over historical accuracy. If it makes a dfference, the fireplace in question will probably be in the north of England, somewhere around York. So if you have some knowledge on the subject, please help a gal out!

See the things you get to read about here?

Posted by Ithildin at November 12, 2005 11:29 AM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

In the north of England in the 12th Century, life was pretty much like it had been in the 11th century and earlier. Until Thursday the 8th of August, 1157, that is. At about 4:30 in the afternoon. But I digress....

The farther one got from the larger cities, the later such developments usually came, particularly in a time when most people lived their entire lives within 20 miles of the place they were born, and when incentives for change were few and far between.

So in 12th century rural-rural-rural Yorkshire, the hearth would probably still be in the middle of the home; closer to York itself (which wasn't exactly a major metropolis then) there would be more of a likelihood of change, and a number of small differences from one house to the next, depending on the age of the structure. In short, you can pick whatever meets your artistic needs and still be pretty accurate.

So OK, that's not terribly definitive, but it's late and I just got home from work. I'm pooped.

Posted by: Russ at November 13, 2005 2:26 AM

Thankfully, York has an excellent website, which gets better every year. So I have a time, a place, even a King. Oh, and a Crusade too. Thanks for the input.

Posted by: Ith at November 13, 2005 11:22 AM

I don't know that you are going to be able to find out exactly when. It probably changed slowly with time. I would try and see if you can dig up pics of houses in various periods of the 12th century (from museums or what not) and then just look to see when the house was made.

An historian, especially one with an architectual bent may be able to tell you.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at November 14, 2005 11:10 PM