BRINGING WARMTH TO EVERY SITTING – THE WARMING TABLE
The warming table, located in the Inner Hall, takes centre stage as Castle object of the month.
Warming tables had an array of functions; depending on one’s wealth, they could be used to heat food or even to heat an entire house.
The impressive piece only dates back to 1900; however, it was crafted in the style of a traditional 17th-century Spanish warming table.
The table is laden with fine brass studs and made of rich walnut wood. Most importantly, there are two, two-handled copper and brass bowls within the table, used for heating.
It seems most likely that the ‘brazier’ table at Hever would have been used in a courtyard. Sand filled both bowls, with hot coals added to the lower bowl for heat, while the top bowl was used to warm food.
Warming tables have been present throughout history; notably, braziers are even mentioned in the Bible.
In Spain, the basin in the middle of the table is known as a ‘brasero’, meaning heater. The brasero was commonly used in Spain to heat houses until the end of the 20th century, at which point it was replaced with the conventional electric heater and modern-day firepits.
However, due to rising heating prices, the brasero is making a modern day comeback in Spain, proving that history can be relied upon to bring warmth to any home.
In the 1920s, there was a widespread habit of placing a brazier beneath a cloth which covered the entire table. As a result, the legs and feet would be kept warm on cold nights.
Flower trimmings were often added to the coal to produce a pleasant aroma.
The warming table nods to the history of the Castle. Prior to the vast restoration of the Castle, the Inner Hall was the Great Kitchen, complete with a large fireplace for cooking and a well for water.
From its Spanish roots, the warming table made its way to Hever in the late 20th century; it was purchased at auction on 14th October 1986 by the present owners, the Guthrie Family.