Kiplin Hall Vector

Silent Footsteps

Dairy Maid

As a new exhibition opens at Kiplin Hall a table is laid with 9 place settings, representing some of the servant roles in this historic house. Join us as we explore the lives of these diligent workers.

In life, the servants and staff of Kiplin Hall moved through the house silently undertaking their duties. We see traces of them in the historical record through things like wage bills and diary entries. Then and today, they are shadows, without whom Kiplin Hall could not have existed and thrived.

Today we meet Hannah Bell, a Dairy Maid who worked at Kiplin Hall from 1850 to 1853.

Hannah was born in Feetham, near Reeth, Yorkshire in 1818. Her maiden name was Hannah Raw. She married John Bell, a lead miner, in 1839 and lived in Feetham but sadly was widowed in 1844, aged just 26 years old. By 1850 she was around 32 years old and began working at Kiplin Hall as a dairy maid.

She was paid £4, 14 shillings and 6 pence as a half yearly salary. Equivalent to around £380 in modern terms according to the national archives online currency converter. She stopped working at Kiplin Hall after 1851 and married a farmer called Ralph Lynas in 1855. They lived in Skelton, Yorkshire. Tracing women in the historical record can be very difficult as they often move around and change their name when married. The census is an important document which can help us track people in the past, but the data is only collected every 10 years, so people can ‘get lost’ between each census. Hannah was also a very popular name in the 1800, known to most from the Old Testament in the Bible, making her even harder to trace.

A butter scoop used to scoop butter out of the churn. Made of sycamore wood this close-grained wood was preferred for these tasks as it would not taint the flavour of the butter.

During her time at Kiplin Hannah would have reported to the housekeeper, her main duties would be to look after the poultry and collect milk from nearby Kiplin Home Farm. Importantly she’d be tasked with managing milk at all stages of its preservation, including churning milk into butter and flavouring and shaping the butter. She would also have been in charge of cheese making. At this time local cheeses would have been very distinct and different. Houses like Kiplin would have expected high quality cheese as part of the menu. Both hard and soft kinds of cheese were made using local milk from sheep and cows. The type of grass eaten by cows or sheep would affect the flavour of the cheese. Other factors, such as how the milk was stored and handled would also influence the flavour. Cheesemaking was, and continues to be, skilled work.

The Tea Room at Kiplin Hall and Gardens has a reputation for using local produce and is currently in the running for Tea Room of the Year in the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards.

Kiplin Hall’s Tea Room still has a reputation for quality flavours today. Currently shortlisted for ‘Tea Room of the Year’ in the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards, the winner is to be announced on the 9th May in a ceremony at Solberge Hall near Northallerton.

Join us next time to find out more about James Allen, Footman. The exhibition Silent Footsteps is now open and is included with standard admission. Day and Annual tickets are available. Kiplin is open 6 days a week, closed on Thursdays. Please note that this exhibition is on the third floor and there is no lift, access by stairs only.


Photograph showing the servants’ wing at Kiplin before its demolition in the 1970’s. Much of Hannah’s time would have been spent working in the servants’ wing and dairy.
Cows were an important part of life on an estate like Kiplin. In this historic photograph you can see cows grazing right next to the house.