Welcome back to an A to Z of discoveries at Kiplin Hall and Gardens. Today we explore a theme very close to all of our hearts, family. Specifically, the five very important families associated with Kiplin Hall and Gardens.
Built in the 1620’s by George Calvert as a hunting lodge, Kiplin Hall remained in family ownership for nearly 400 years. During that time four family names have laid claim to Kiplin Hall as its ownership moved through inheritance and marriage. The Calverts, Crowes, Carpenters, and Talbots. The hall was only sold twice in its history (in 1722 and 1937) and both of these were family transactions. The Hall remained in family ownership until 1971, when the last owner, Bridget Talbot (credited with saving the hall for the nation) left it to a charitable trust.
Extensive research into the family trees of the people associated with Kiplin Hall has been undertaken by a volunteer, Tom Banfield. This information is documented online HERE. With each generation of the families associated with Kiplin their reputation grew. Be it; the Calvert’s sending colonists to America in the 17th century or Christopher Crowe the younger earning recognition as a modern agricultural experimenter in the 18th century. Beatrice Carpenter and her sisters’ prolific talents in arts & crafts, sharing their skills teaching local people new skills and increasing their employability the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Multiple male members of the family serving in various wars, reaching ranks as high as Admiral Carpenter. And more recently, Bridget Talbot doing her bit as a nurse, and inventing the flashing light on life jackets which saved countless lives, since WW2. Many of the owners of Kiplin Hall had family and community in their hearts, but set forth from this corner of North Yorkshire making marks around the globe.
Today, family is still very much at the heart of Kiplin Hall and Gardens. The charity which operates the hall as a museum, preserving the stories of the Calverts, Crowes, Carpenters and Talbots, can only do so with the support of a much larger new family, fondly called Kiplin’s fifth family, the cherished volunteers.
Volunteers are involved in all aspects of running the popular visitor attraction. From the board of trustees to archives researchers, visitor services, object cleaning, tour guiding, gardening, ecological surveying, and even a volunteer to winds all of the historic clocks!
The team is so committed and close knit that each year a celebration event is held, at which long standing volunteers receive awards for long service. Badges for 5, 10, and 15 years of service are awarded at the annual Charter Day celebrations in June. This year sees some volunteers reaching 20 years of service! During Charter Day the team mark the anniversary of King James awarding the charter for the Calvert’s to form a colony in America. They went on to found what is now the state of Maryland in the USA. The history relating to this early chapter of Kiplin’s past is being explored in a new exhibition at the Hall called ‘Strong Deeds, Gentle Words’ which visitors can enjoy once restrictions on museums and are lifted.
As Kiplin has reopened its grounds this Easter, and indoor spaces remain closed, staff are producing a new outdoor display exploring the history of the four owner families around a commemorative oak tree overlooking the hall and surrounding park land. This extra interpretation is being made possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery emergency funding issued in late 2020 to help attractions recover from the lockdown.
Anyone interested in volunteering at Kiplin and becoming part of the ‘fifth family’ can register their interest HERE