TUDOR CHIMNEYS – TUDOR TUESDAYS
On this Tudor Tuesday, we take a look at the history of the chimney in Tudor times and in particular at the Dining Hall at Hever Castle.
Thomas Boleyn enclosed the Great Hall (now the Dining Hall) for added comfort, aided by the advent of the side fireplace.
Thanks to Castle Supervisor Dr Owen Emmerson for showing us around the Dining Hall.
With the shift from burning wood to burning coal, fireplaces (which had previously been in the middle of the room with a hole in the roof for smoke to escape through) became enclosed, hence the need for chimneys.
Brick was an expensive building material at this time (it had been popular with the Romans, although Roman bricks were flat and more like tiles; the Roman word for tile and brick is interchangeable. However the method of making bricks was lost during the Dark Ages, then rediscovered). That’s the reason that Tudor chimneys are often so fancy and twisted and curved, the owners were showing off their ability to afford brick.
Later (1600s) there was a hearth tax introduced, where people paid tax based on how many hearths they had. In order to pretend they were more wealthy than they were, some people had extra chimneys added their own homes that didn’t connect to any fireplaces, however, from the outside it made it look like they had more hearths than they did!
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