Sunday, January 26, 2020

MM #64: Kiplin Hall, Back from the Brink

View of Kiplin Hall on October 28, 2019

How long have I been in love with historic homes in the UK?  At least 30 years!

These homes, preserved for our education, wonder and enjoyment, share numerous common elements.  Walled gardens, sweeping lawns, ancient families, period furniture, and, of course, a striking home.  But each one has a unique tale, and inevitably, intriguing idiosyncrasies.  Welcome to the story of Kiplin Hall!

Built in the early 1620's, it was owned by four fascinating families related by blood and marriage.
The beginning: in the 13th century, Kiplin became part of the landholding of Easby Abbey, a monastery five miles to the west.  (Yes, you have read about Easby on my blog - see this post.  Small country, small world.)  After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the land was purchased by the Calvert family.  George Calvert was born there in 1859 and built the Hall between 1622 - 1625.
Scores of flowers despite our visit in late October!
In the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, a gentleman's house was a visible symbol of his status.  George Calvert built a tall, symmetrical red-brick house, using fashionable design features such as the diamond-shaped diapering pattern in blue-black bricks on the east front.  Many contemporary houses had corner towers with leaded domes; Kiplin was unique in placing the towers in the center of each façade.

Ironically, George Calvert and his descendants never lived in the house.  George was instrumental in establishing the colony of Maryland in the US, and his descendants lived there or in the south of England.  In 1722, Charles Calvert sold the Hall and its 800 acres to his mother's second husband, Christopher Crowe.
The first owners to live in the Hall, the Crowe family increased the estate to 4,500 acres.  To make the Hall more fashionable and comfortable, Christopher Crowe added the central staircase, Georgian fireplaces, and decorative plasterwork.  The estate passed to Christopher Crowe's nephew, Robert, in 1782.  When Robert's daughter Sarah inherited Kiplin in 1818, the estate passed through marriage to the Carpenter family.
Ceiling in the dining room
Sarah and her husband John Carpenter continued to improve and enlarge both the estate and the home.  The symmetry of the original building was further altered in the 1820s, when they built a Gothic style Drawing Room to the south.  Lady Sarah also developed the pleasure gardens, creating paths through the woods and the walled gardens.
In 1868, Kiplin passed to a cousin, Walter Cecil Talbot, on the condition that he change his name to Carpenter.  He rose to Admiral in the Royal Navy, and made many enhancements to the estate buildings and gardens.  Countless items in the house were collected, commissioned or made by the Carpenters.  Family scrapbooks and photo albums compiled between 1860 and 1904 give a wonderful picture of the country house lifestyle of the period.  The death of the Admiral in 1904 marked the end of an era.
This mahogany cabinet was designed by Chippendale and was
commissioned to house the decorative panels of pietra dura.
Pietra dura means hard stone, and the charming scenes of the
Italian countryside are made of marble and other colored stones.

Miss Bridget Talbot
Kiplin began its decline as a country house when Sarah Talbot Carpenter married and moved away.  Between 1905 and 1930, Sarah sold off most of the estate until only the Hall, a few outbuildings and 120 acres remained.  In 1938, Sarah made her cousin, Bridget Talbot, joint owner of Kiplin.  Bridget lived a varied and adventurous life, including serving the Red Cross on the Italian front line during the First World War, which earned her an Italian Medal of Honor and an OBE.  In a major campaign in the 1920s and 1930s to save the lives of Merchant Seamen, Bridget invented a waterproof torch for lifebelts that became a standard part of safety equipment.


During the Second World War, Kiplin Hall was requisitioned by the Army and later turned into flats for Royal Air Force officers.  (This room in the house has been left as is to show how it looked at that time, with modifications to bedrooms in order to create flats.) There was considerable damage and little hope of compensation.  Nevertheless, Bridget worked tirelessly to save Kiplin.
Left: "Bugingham Palace" - Get it?!?         Right: Conkers, also known as Horse Chestnuts
From the 1940s to the 1960s, Bridget struggled to ensure Kiplin's survival.  She approached many organizations and negotiated with the National Trust for years.  On several occasions she announced her decision to demolish the increasingly derelict Hall, but she never did.  Finally, in 1968, Bridget established the Kiplin Hall Trust.
Following Bridget's death in 1971, the trustees endeavored to maintain the Hall.  Financial assistance from Maryland in the 1970s and 1980s carried the house until its future was finally secured in the 1990s.  Income produced from quarrying gravel in the parkland was sufficient to put the trust on a firm footing, and also created an attractive lake.  Major restoration work since 1998 has brought Kiplin back to life as a welcoming Victorian country house.  Bridget, your hard work paid off - you can rest easy now!









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Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
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27 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed learning the fascinating history of Kiplin Hall...no wonder you love it. Quite a family ...whether by birth or “adoption” over the years. Bridget especially deserves her own pages in history. It was interesting that Maryland helped fund while it was in transition ... that is really honoring their founder’s earlier life. .. your pictures are wonderful and you are a great tour guide.

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  2. So very interesting. I love history and especially referring to old homes or estates and how they came to be. So sad this one was diminished before being saved. Lovely. I am sure that early on, in its hayday era, this was a site to be held. Thanks for sharing.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

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  3. It was so good to hear that it was possible to save this beautiful country home. Thank you for hosting Mosaic Monday and have a grand week!

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  4. ...what a spectacular trip you had!

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  5. What a beautiful house and it is so good to see it saved and restored. The gardens looks beautiful.

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  6. A fascinating Post about the history of Kiplin house. I enjoyed reading.
    Happy MosaicMonday

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  7. Such wonderful photos and a terrific story to go along with them, we totally enjoyed!

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  8. Oh I would love to visit and stay in one of these glorious historic houses. We don't have anything this old in Australia. It was Australia Day yesterday. Happy travels and have a great week.

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  9. Kiplin Hall is such an interesting historical house! I'm so glad it was preserved in time for its story to be told to future generations.

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  10. Hello, beautiful tour of the Kiplin Hall. It is a beautiful house. I am glad it is preserved and restored. Your trip sounds wonderful, I loved the photos and mosaics. Thanks for hosting. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

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  11. Interesting history and photos. Happy mosaic Monday. Thank you for hosting MM

    much love...

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  12. Interesting photos today and I'm glad to know that this beautiful estate was perserved.

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  13. What a staggering rich history of a building, its occupants and surrounding grounds. It survived everything, from the glory years to having its existence threatened to now being a museum for all to enjoy. Thanks for sharing your trip through this part of the world.

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  14. A fascinating history, Angie. So glad such estates are safeguarded for future generations.

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  15. How interesting! I didn't know anything about this beautiful home and the history so I've enjoyed learning more. Love bugingham palace...how funny! Happy MM!

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  16. I love architecture and touring old homes as well. Wherever I go, I seek them out. So interesting.

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  17. Such a lovely post, both to read and look at.
    It's a beautiful house and it is good to see it saved and restored.
    The gardens too are lovely.

    Enjoy the week ahead.

    All the best Jan

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  18. Interesting. The Calvert family is well known in Maryland and Virginia history. There's a Calvert County in Maryland.

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  19. It's a nice story. I likethis symmetrical red-brick house. Reading your blog, I remembered Helen Beatrix Potter. She saved many lands and buildings in the Lake District of England.

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  20. I am fascinated by the old houses in the UK - such wonderful and interesting stories they tell. I'm glad Kiplin Hall was saved from destruction.

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  21. Hi Angie. This is an entertaining and interesting story that links to the (your) photos. I must say that I understand why people like old buildings and their associated history but it's mainly a subject I never really "got". I think I'm more into present day subjects and future than the past. Enjoy your week and I'm glad you enjoy and understand my attempts at humour, even though many find it unpalatable.

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  22. the history of a home is so interesting, and your pictures are so beautiful. i enjoy viewing the quaint, old homes, and i quite enjoyed this tour. i laughed at bugingham palace and horse chestnuts. that is such a pretty image of the swan!

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  23. What a fascinating history of this house and how it was eventually saved and restored. So good. Thanks for sharing the story so well.

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  24. Such a long and interesting history. It's apparent that the families wanted to keep it going so thank goodness it was finally saved and is now maintained for all to enjoy. Wonderful photos!

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