Last edited 04 Feb 2021


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.

When kitchens eventually became separate rooms, inglenooks began to be incorporated into living spaces as cosy, warm places to sit.

In addition to their appearance in traditional building, inglenooks enjoyed a brief renaissance during the Arts and Crafts movement but declined following the introduction of central heating.

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