1) The fireplace in a smith’s forge.

The OED has an explicit example in 1398 but then a gap in the evidence until 1645. In Sheffield, the word acquired an almost symbolic value: in 1547 Richard King left to his daughter his greteste panne, the counter, the best stithie, bellowes, hammeres and tonges, with all thinges belonging to the same harthe: in 1558 Robert Wilkinson of Attercliffe bequeathed to his son Laurence his byggest harthe with all geare to yt belonging: his son Edmond had his lytle harthe. In 1657, John Spencer paid 17s to the masons for getting the Hearthstone for the New Furnace at Barnby. It is found also as a generic in ‘bloom hearth’ and ‘string hearth’, and may be the final element in the Sheffield place-name Brightside. This was recorded as Brichesherd in a charter of 1171-81, and for more than four centuries ‘Brekesherth’ was a typical spelling: an early seventeenth-century fine illustrates its development: 1611 Brightside alias Brekesherth.

dates 1171-1181 1547 1558 1611 1657

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