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Calidarium, or hot bath.
G. Poulett Scrope Esq: del.
ENLARGED PLAN OF A PORTION OF THE ROMAN VILLA DISCOVERED AT NORTH WRAXHALL, WILTS, 1859.
two feet in width, through which the hot air from the furnace was intended to circulate. The covering-slabs laid over these openings from pillar to pillar, are not of tile, but rough plank stone, and their lower surfaces still retained a thick coating of charcoal-soot. Upon these slabs was laid a layer of concrete, or terrass, composed of lime mortar and pounded brick, about six inches in thickness. This had been every-where reddened by the action of the fire beneath. Upon it, in three of the chambers at least, rested a pavement of well-jointed and squared stone-slabs from two to three inches in thickness. In the other rooms the surface of the concrete itself formed the floor. In some parts it had been destroyed. The upper floors in all the rooms were on the same level and about 3 feet 6 inches above the basement one, the pillars being 3 feet in height.
Within the two hypocausts A and B (which measure respectively 14 feet by 7 with the recesses) there were found many hollow flue-pipes of terra cotta, from eight or ten to six inches square, and from one foot to two in length. Some of these were entire and stood in their proper position upright and in contact with the walls, others were broken in fragments. These flue-tiles have patterns rudely scored upon them on three sides as if drawo with a comb or toothed instrument, the patterns generally varying on the different sides. (see plate x.) Two opposite sides have usually one or two square holes in them, evidently intended for the entrance and exit of the hot air, which rose through these flues no doubt into the bath-rooms above the hypocaust. And for their admission through the floor there were open spaces of five or six inches in width left in some of the rooms between their pavement and the walls. It is possible that the scoring may have been intended only to make the mortar adhere the better : yet the ornamentation of only three sides of these flue-pipes seems to indicate that they were carried above the pavement of the upper bath-rooms high enough to be visible. Perhaps they were even continued as high as the ceiling. It is not indeed easy to understand how the smoke of the fuel burning in the furnace was conveyed away, as no other kind of flues were found. But as these pipes, like the underground flues, were blackened inside with soot, it is evident that smoke as well as heated air must have passed at times through them, and entered the bath-rooms above by their perforations. It is possible that some means may have existed for cutting off the communication between the furnace and the hypocaust, until the wood fired in the former had burnt down to charcoal or a red braise, as is done in a modern oven. The furnace which heated the two sudatories A and B was at E (see plan) in the chamber adjoining the latter, into which the draught of hot air passed by an arched opening beneath the level of the floor, while the lower part of the wall between the two rooms was pierced by similar openings. On one side of this furnace at (e) is a recess, which was found half-filled with charcoal. It was evidently the fuel-store. The other side was banked up with concrete to prevent the escape of heat. The two other bath-rooms, C and D, were warmed in the same way from a second furnace in F, communicating with them in a similar manner by an arched opening in the wall. The partition wall between the chambers C and D, like that between A and B was also pierced with several rudely arched openings or flues ; so that one fire in each case warmed two apartments.
The two semi-circular bays or recesses in chambers A and B are worthy of particular remark. In A the tubular flue-pipes were ranged round the inner curve next the wall, as well as round the interior walls of the small square chamber adjoining. In B the recess was separated from the square chamber by a wall reaching rather above the floor (but perforated at either end to allow the passage of the hot air) and having two flagged steps upon it ascending from the floor of the chamber to that of the niche itself, which had a solid foundation of concrete down to the base of the building, but with an interval between this semicircular pier and the wall for the passage of the heated air. In A there was no such division, but only square pilasters projecting from the sides marked the separation of the chamber from the recess. The entire arrangement suggests the idea that these semi-circular niches were capable of being shut off from the adjoining chambers by a curtain