|This modern fireplace has an inglenook on either side incorporating seating.|
From the medieval period onwards, the fireplace took pride of place in houses and farmhouses and was typically a large-scale affair. An inglenook (derr. Gaelic ‘aingael’ – fire or light, and Old English ‘ingle’ – fireplace) was a recessed hearth area (or chimney corner) adjoining a fireplace.
Bigger fireplaces would have recesses large enough for storing food (particularly to keep salt dry, as well as cooking implements, etc) and/or they could house seating. The natural warmth of the spot became a favoured place to cook and to sit and gather; it was therefore a precursor to the modern kitchen.
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