a tiled grate


Senior Member
There was a bed, but no bedhead. The mattress was filthy, as muddy water had soaked into it as if it was a sponge. This must have been a pleasant room, with a window looking down towards the sea and a tiled grate. The roof was still on here, but the glass had been pushed out and the rain came in that way.
Source: Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
Context: Detective Constable Sandy is inspecting the remaining of a croft after a landslide. He is in the bedroom.

What does a tiled grate refer to? the recess of a fireplace?


Thank you.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, a quick web search shows that "tiled grate" is used to mean "tiled fireplace" (perhaps by people who have never had an open fire; the grate is what the fire actually lies on, which appears to be missing in your picture, unless it is hidden in the darkness at the bottom).

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    That’s a lot fancier than you’d expect to find in a croft bedroom. But yes, she’s writing about a small fireplace with some sort of tiles on it.

    Grate, to me, means the metal basket/ grill bit where you actually burn the fuel, so I’d imagine tiles flat on the floor level to catch the cinders. However I think some people say grate to denote the whole fireplace, which then allows for the tiles to be more decorative.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I’d imagine tiles flat on the floor level to catch the cinders
    That thought occurred to me too, but I could not find any evidence to support it, whereas there were lots of pictures of tiled fire surrounds being called "tiled grates". In any case, wouldn't that be a "tiled hearth"?

    However, I missed it being a croft. Yes, a tiled fireplace would be unusual, so I think there's a better chance that you're right than I am.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'd vote for Uncle Jack's image, with "grate" being used to mean "fireplace".

    From the (big) OED entry for grate (my highlighting):
    4. A frame of metal bars for holding the fuel in a fireplace or furnace. Hence, the fireplace itself.
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