While researching the history of chimneys, I came across this medieval image on two different sites, neither of which gives any details.

enter image description here

Source: Dark Ages Project. The same picture can also be found here.


  1. Can anyone put an approximate date on this picture? I'd also like to know where it is from (knowing the actual manuscript - if that is the source - would be great, but I'll settle for a region or country).

  2. I'm also curious about the large (and not-at-all-to-scale) structure in the middle of the picture. Are these priests preaching or perhaps blessing (if so, no one seems to be paying much attention), or is this scene purely artistic licence?


My reason for wanting to know the date & source of this picture relates to chimneys: it appears that they became widespread later in Britain (16th century) than in Italy (14th century or earlier), but the evidence is not conclusive. Please note that chimneys are not part of the question, just the reason for it.

  • Seems the picture is portraying a rather dismal perspective of social hierarchy of the time and nobility. It seems today after some 200 strong years advancement, we are resorting to a similar era if you look at people of power and absolute freedom today. I don't know much about the chimneys though. It seems venting heat generating exhaust fumes from living structures is prevalent through out most parts of the world. So I would assume a noticeable chimney was adopted as a matter of style and taste. Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 20:09
  • Additionally note the two strange fellows peeping in at the top, surely no mistake. Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 20:15
  • 6
    @marshalcraft I think you may be reading too much into it. I don't think I've ever seen a piece of Medieval art in which anyone did not appear to be grimly resigned to chronic sadness. Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 20:51
  • i.imgflip.com/2cmcva.jpg Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


The image shows shows the Fair at Lendit in France. It is taken from a 15th century manuscript held at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris France.

MS Latin 962 folio 264.

The suggested date for the manuscript is 1405-1410, which should help narrow down your research.

The whole manuscript has been scanned, and is available online.

From the description:

  • Pontificale dit Pontifical d'Etienne de Givry
  • XVe siècle (vers 1405-1410)
  • Manuscrit en latin
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des Manuscrits, Troyes.
  • Pièces notées (notation carrée sur 4 lignes rouges). Rajouts des XVe et XVIe siècles en écriture cursive, dans les marges et en fin de volume.
  • Enluminé par le Maître des Heures de Troyes. 21 miniatures, Initiales peintes à antennes ou historiées sur fond d'or.
  • Parchemin, I-VII + 276 ff. (foliotés 1 à 275, présence d'un f. 233bis), 310 x 220 mm (just. 195 x 125 mm).
  • 36 cahiers : 1 cahier de 7 ff. (I-VII ; un des ff. a été coupé), 29 cahiers de 8 ff. (1-232), 1 cahier de 9 ff. (233-240 ; un f. monté),
    4 cahiers de 8 ff. (241-272), 1 cahier de 3 ff. (273-275 ; un f. monté), précédés et suivis de 4 ff. de gardes de papier (1830-1848).
    Restes de papiers anciens (serpentes ?) dans certains fonds de cahiers.
  • Réclames. Cahiers numérotés au crayon à papier d'un chiffre arabe (datant probablement de la pose de la reliure actuelle). Foliotation
    d'origine, en chiffres romains, à l'encre rouge.
  • Réglure légère à l'encre brune.
  • Demi-reliure de chagrin rouge, plats de veau raciné, tranches dorées, au chiffre de Louis Philippe (1830-1848), titrée "PONTIFICALE" au dos, signée Lefèvre.
  • Reliure restaurée en 1961 dans les ateliers de la BN (reprise du dos, rattachement de plat).
  • Estampille de la Bibliothèque royale au XVIIe siècle.

or if you prefer the [Google] translated version:

  • Pontifical said Pontifical of Etienne de Givry [!]
  • XV th century (around 1405-1410)
  • Latin manuscript
  • National Library of France. Department of Manuscripts, Troyes.
  • Noted pieces (square notation on 4 red lines). Additions XV th and XVI th centuries in cursive, in the margins and end of the volume.
  • Enlightened by the Master of the Hours of Troyes . 21 miniatures, initials painted with antennas or historiated [!] on a gold background.
  • Parchment, I-VII + 276 ff. (foliated 1 to 275, presence of a 233bis), 310 x 220 mm (just 195 x 125 mm).
  • 36 notebooks: 1 notebook of 7 ff. (I-VII, one of the ff was cut), 29 notebooks of 8 ff. (1-232), 1 notebook of 9 ff. (233-240, one mounted), 4 notebooks of 8 ff. (241-272), 1 notebook of 3 ff. (273-275, one mounted), preceded and followed by 4 ff. paper guards (1830-1848). Remains of ancient papers (snakes?) In some notebooks.
  • Advertisements. Numbered notebooks in pencil of an Arabic numeral (probably dating from the pose of the current binding). Foliotation
    of origin, in Roman numerals, in red ink.
  • Light rule in brown ink.
  • Half-binding of red sorrow, veal dishes, golden slices, with the figure of Louis Philippe (1830-1848), titled "PONTIFICALE" on the back, signed Lefèvre.
  • Binding restored in 1961 in the workshops of the BN (recovery of the back, attachment of plate).
  • Stamp of the Royal Library in the XVII th century.

The structure in the centre of the image may well be a (much-simplified, and not-to-scale) representation of the Saint-Denis Church of La Chapelle

Saint-Denis Church of La Chapelle

which is where the Foire du Lendit took place.

  • Both your answer and that of @LangLangC are excellent and it would be nice to be able to accept both. I'm accepting this answer as it gives me both a source and a useful date (my main question). As to what the structure represents, both explanations seem plausible, but I'm certainly not qualified to determine which is more likely. Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 12:55

This a picture called

"La foire du Lendit" Pontifical de Sens, France, 14th century BnF Ms. Latin 962, fol. 264
Source: Medieval Trade and Travel: Home

And can be dated with additional detail to found here.

That image is at the source here, at the Bibliothèque nationale de France:

enter image description here
La foire du Lendit

Pontifical de Sens, France, XIVe siècle Paris, BnF, département des Manuscrits, Latin 962, fol. 264 //
La Bénédiction du Lendit. Miniature du manuscrit latin Pontificale Senonense, édité entre 1301 et 1400. – Pontifical de Sens, XIVème siècle, latin 262, F. 264r Bénédiction du Lendit. – Source : Gallica, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 962, domaine public.
Source l'enfance en moyen age, BNF and Bénédiction de la Foire du lendit

A "Foire du Lendit" means that this is around St Denis in France and we see a bishop of Paris blessing a trade show, a fair or market.

The fair of Lendit (or fair of the Landit), opened for two weeks every 11 of June, day of Saint Barnabé, until June 24, day of the Saint-Jean, with the plain Saint-Denis, between Paris and Saint-Denis. It was from the 9th to the 16th century one of the most important fairs in France and the largest in the Île-de-France. It attracted a thousand merchants from all over Europe and Byzantium… It sold the parchment used by the University of Paris and its students.

In 1411, appears the last mention of the Perron in a "List of the price of lodges at the fair of Lendit" written under the abbey of Philippe de Villette. The Perron was a prominent stone on which one could stand or sit, located near the Montjoie, tumulus located on the way to the Estrée . The Montjoie and his Perron served as a platform and a pulpit to be preached during the fairs: every year, the bishop of Paris came to bless the fair of Lendit in June. These are the Montjoie and the Perron which must be recognized under the veiled terms used by the Pontifical of the Church of Paris concerning the ceremonial of the blessing of the fairs: the most eminent place where the bishop settled with the procession, which required a rather large platform, was the Montjoie, while the highest place, a kind of platform for the sermon, was the Perron. A place told to the cadastre, a street, an impasse testify to the intensity of the memory of the Perron.
Source: WP.fr

As this is from a book and looks like this in context:

enter image description here (click to enlarge)

As seen in the French Wikipedia entry, the structure in the middle with the clerics on top seems to be "Montjoie and Perron" (Anne Lombard-Jourdan: "Montjoie et Saint-Denis! Le centre de la Gaule aux origines de Paris et de Saint-Denis", Presses du CNRS: Paris, 1989, p392.), a special elevated structure for that purpose. Later a Montjoies would be depicted in this way:

enter image description here or like here: enter image description here

While the depiction of the "building" may include a certain artistic licence, the disinterest of the people going about their business at that late medieval time is perhaps not.

  • 1
    Also I presume in that era, it was not standard yet to smile for a portrait, or smile and be optimistic in general day to day activity. There may of been genuinely no intention to portray that mood, it was just defacto of the time. Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 20:13
  • But notice there, they appear to be killing a person, who in turn is smiling... Smiling in a portrait seems to convey drastically different meaning then today, so much that it may be difficult to understand the time from our perspective. I think if you look through history it is only past hundred years or so that it became prevalent. Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 10:40

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