Best Hidden Gem and Best New Discovery in Hudsons Heritage Awards, 2012
Kiplin Hall stands close to the River Swale in the beautiful, rolling countryside of the Vale of Mowbray in North Yorkshire, between the historic market towns of Richmond and Northallerton.
This hidden gem was built in 1620 by George Calvert, Secretary of State to James I and Founder of Maryland, USA. The building’s elegant design in fashionable red brick was unusual in Jacobean architecture, with domed towers on the centre of each side of a tall symmetrical structure.
The estate has been owned by four fascinating families, related by blood and marriage, through almost 400 years of history. The estate grew to around 5,000 acres, but in the 20th century land and buildings were sold leaving 100 acres around the Hall.
The families, the Calverts, Crowes, Carpenters and Talbots, all left their stamp on the house and grounds. In the 18th century a grand central staircase and a service wing were added. This service wing has since been demolished, but the Walled Garden from this period survives. A ‘Gothic’ wing was added to the original Jacobean house in the 1820s and redesigned as a Library in 1887 by W.E. Nesfield. This room is lined with books collected by the families.
This intriguing house is now furnished as a comfortable Victorian home with 17 rooms, including the fascinating Travellers’ Bedroom, open to the public. The Hall is crowded with an eclectic mix of previous owners’ furniture, paintings, portraits and personalia, including many Arts and Crafts items.
Art in the House
The people who owned Kiplin Hall left behind an extensive and important collection of original paintings that date from the 16th – 19th century. These paintings hang throughout the Hall, and include works by notable artists including Joachim Beuckelaer, Luca Carlevarijs, Angelica Kauffman, George Cuit, Siegfried Bendixen and George Frederic Watts.
A room on the first floor is devoted to 50 watercolours, mostly sketches, by Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford (1818-1891). She exhibited at London’s Grosvenor Gallery and moved in artistic circles, counting amongst her acquaintances John Ruskin, members of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement and G.F. Watts.
Kiplin Hall in Times of War
From Civil War to Second World War
During the First World War the last owner of the Hall, Miss Bridget Talbot, served with the Red Cross on the Italian Front. She lost her younger brother, Geoffrey, whilst he was serving with the Royal Naval Air Service. Miss Talbot recalled of the Second World War: “After Dunkirk a regiment was given a rendezvous at the house; all day and all night straggling and exhausted men arrived… It was a sight never to be forgotten with the hot sun streaming in at the windows on to the pictures, old furniture, the walls of books and the floor a silent carpet of prostrate khaki figures.”
Many of the owners of Kiplin, family members and local communities have been touched by wars since the Hall was built, from the English Civil War of the 17th century to the Second World War when an RAF Maintenance Unit requisitioned the estate, supplying bombs to local airfields.
A new exhibition recounts 300 years of Kiplin’s owners, family members and local communities in times of war.
Duty Calls is a 2-year project that explores the impact of war on country houses and their communities. Kiplin Hall is one of the nine Yorkshire houses mounting related exhibitions.
The Gardens and Grounds
Following years of neglect, the ‘lost’ gardens at Kiplin Hall are gradually being restored to life by the Head Gardener and a team of dedicated volunteers. A visit includes woodland and lakeside walks, the 18th century Walled Garden, the Rose and Sensory gardens and a newly planted White Garden. Each year brings new projects and the gardens are an unfolding source of beauty, tranquility and discovery.
Seasonal garden produce is on sale from the Walled Garden’s Produce Cart.
Award Winning Tea Room
Located within the original Hall, this is a really special place to take tea or enjoy lunch. The oak panelling and plasterwork ceiling were put in place in the 19th century, and the portraits gazing down from the wall date from as far back as the 1660s, and even include royalty!
Freshly prepared lunches, home baked scones and cakes are served on an eclectic mix of pre-1960s china, which complements the special feel of the room. In season freshly picked herbs, fruit and vegetables are used from the Walled Garden and local produce is sourced when possible. On sunny days guests may take a tray outside to enjoy in the gardens.
Open when the gardens and grounds are open.
Small but interesting, offering a range of interesting items.
Family Room with activities, books, Victorian toys and dressing-up clothes.
Trails to follow around the Hall
Woodland Poetree Trail
Dipping platform at the Victorian Lily pond
Children’s events - Easter, August, Halloween
And…lots of space to play in the fresh air!
Children’s Play Area and Ship
New! Garden Museum
New! Bog Garden