Kiplin Hall

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This is a lovely old brick house set in the broad valley of the River Swale to the east of the A1. A square brick hunting house with four side towers and ogee domes was built in 1620 by George Calvert who was Secretary of State to James I. The red brickwork was decorated with diamond patterns in blue brick. The main door in one of the side towers leads to a long central room with a tower at the other end. On either side are two rooms. The two other towers contain staircases.

A service wing was added in 1722 and the central staircase built. In 1820, the long south wing was built. This was originally a drawing room, but later became the library. The house was used by the armed forces during the Second World War and was in very poor condition afterwards. The then owner, Miss Bridget Talbot was seeking dispensation to pull the house down. She had an accident on her way to do this which she took as a sign to preserve the house. After her death, a trust was set up to run the house. It now belongs to a distant relation who lives in the States, and is no longer lived in.

There is a small rose garden at the front of the house. An iron gateway at the the end of the courtyard leads to a long avenue of lime trees through parkland. The walled garden is being restored and is still nearly all grass with a small vegetable garden and flower garden providing cut flowers for the house.

Behind the house, the landscaped grounds include a large lake with a walk around it.

The ENTRANCE HALL runs the width of the house and is now the ticket area with small shop and tea room. It has an old fashioned feel with panelled walls, plaster ceiling and family portraits.

The DRAWING ROOM is off the entrance hall and has pale grey walls, 18/19th century furniture and more paintings. There is a large Chippendale display cabinet with some lovely examples of pieta dura (mosaics made from marble and other multi-coloured stones). The fireplace has blue and white patterned tiles and easy chairs around it.

This leads into the LIBRARY in the C19th south wing. This is a huge room with panelled walls and plaster ceiling with the coats of arms of the Carpenter and Talbot families who have both owned the hall. The huge carved wood over mantle above the fireplace is inlaid with Arts and Crafts movement tiles. The room has dark green wallpaper and green and gold window hangings. There is a grand piano and a huge desk in the bay window at the far end.

The tour continues into the DINING ROOM. The walls are pale green and are paint on canvas attached to battens. This was very common in the C19th. The fireplace was put in by Christopher Cove in the 1720s. It has a plaster over mantle decorated with cornucopia. To the side is an early C19th semicircular 'hunt' table. The outer ring could be removed to stand in front of the fire. The gentlemen could lounge in easy chairs toasting their feet in front of the fire and put their glasses on the semi circular table which was far enough away from the fire not to get scorched. The dining table fills most of the room and there are sideboards on the walls.

A wide wooden staircase leads to the upper floors. The walls are painted deep plum and a tapestry hangs above the stairs.

The ADMIRAL'S STUDY at the top of the stairs was originally a dressing room It is a long narrow room with a small fireplace. desk, bookcase and nautical prints on the walls. Off it is a larger room which would originally have been a bedroom. It is now the LADY WATERFORD ROOM and furnished as a sitting room and has over 50 of her paintings displayed on the walls. These are mainly portraits (and I have to confess, didn't do a lot for me). She was an aunt by marriage to Admiral Carpenter. Again there is a small fireplace and an Arts and Crafts embroidered fire screen and another decorated with feathers. There are easy chairs, desk and a small table laid for tea.

The GREEN BEDROOM has French 18/19th century four poster bed with chintz hangings and warming pan. There is a washstand with wash set and an enamelled hip bath with a large embroidered screen. There is a lovely cabinet with engraved ivory panels and doors. There is also a late C18th exercise horse.

The upper drawing room was used as a sitting room by RAF OFFICER'S FLAT during the Second World War. The kitchen and bathroom are beyond. These rooms have been left to show what their living quarters were like. It has a small fireplace with easy chairs and a small round table at the opposite end. A big Arts and Crafts movement chest of drawers is inlaid with designs of long tailed tits. There is also a small display cabinet containing a pistol, candle snuffer, ivory letter knife C16th dagger , snuff box and a greyhound made from Venetian glass.

The KITCHEN has a big china sink and a small range in the fireplace and basic cooking equipment. There was a small dining table , sideboard and easy chairs.

Beyond is the YELLOW BATHROOM. This contains a Georgian fireplace, Victorian bath, 1950s plastic curtains and 1660s yellow wall paper…

The TRAVELLER' BEDROOM has only been opened up recently. It contains furniture and paintings brought to Kiplin from other family houses by the last owner, Miss Talbot. There is a splendid C18th Italian bed with white and gold carvings and the coat of arms of the Medici family and double headed eagles on the top finials. On the base are Talbot hounds. The two easy chairs come from Goa and are made of ebony with delicate ivory inlay. One has a lady on the back; the other a gentleman. There is a series of paintings of Japanese ships which belonged to Miss Talbot's brother and were brought here after his death. These were originally a long continuous scroll and depict the visit of the Korean Embassy to Japan. The other treasure is a large portrait of two Chinese ladies wearing beautiful dresses with red sleeves decorated with red dragons.

The tour continues down a long corridor with more Japanese paintings to the main staircase.

Up the stairs on the second floor is the LONG GALLERY which stretches the width of the house. It has paintings and C17th furniture. There is an C18th Tyrolean armoire with painted scenes of courting couples or gentlemen on horseback. By the fireplace is a stuffed alligator and a pair of heavy leather postillion boots which protected the legs from being crushed by horses, trees etc. Off the long gallery is an exhibition room of family history. There is a children's room with dressing up clothes. On the opposite side is an exhibition of KIPLIN HALL AT WAR. This has information panels about family involvement in a series of wars. There is also a lot of information about Miss Bridget Talbot and her role in the First and Second World Wars. She was quite a woman and also invented a waterproof torch which could be fitted to life jackets so men lost overboard had a better chance of being seen and rescued.

This was a fascinating visit and we really enjoyed it. Visits are by free flow. There are room stewards in every room who are excellent and hand out information sheets. Photography is not allowed inside the house.


The car park is a few minutes walk from the house along the road. There are toilets, including disabled toilet in the stable block as well as more toilets in the house.

There is ramped access to the house and all ground floor rooms, shop and tea room are accessible. There is a folder with information and photographs of the upstairs rooms. The ground floor rooms are the most interesting.

There is reduced entry for disabled visitors and carers are admitted free There is a wheelchair and all terrain wheelchair available for visitor use. Reception staff and room stewards are excellent and well aware of disability issues. There are chairs for visitor use in every room or window seats.

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