In historic and modern usage, a hearth is a brick- or stone-lined fireplace, with or without an oven, used for heating and originally also used for cooking food. For centuries, the hearth was such an integral part of a home, usually its central and most important feature, that the concept has been generalized to refer to a homeplace or household, as in the terms "hearth and home" and "keep the home fires burning". In a medieval hall, the hearth commonly stood in the middle of the hall, with the smoke rising through the room to a smoke hole in the roof. Later, such hearths were moved to the side of the room and provided with a chimney. In fireplace design, the hearth is the part of the fireplace where the fire burns, usually consisting of masonry at floor level or higher, underneath the fireplace mantel.
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