Kiplin Hall Vector

X is for... 'CROSS'

An A to Z of Discovery at Kiplin

Welcome back to an A to Z of discovery at Kiplin Hall and Gardens. Today we tackle the tricky letter X. No, there is not a xylophone in sight! But rather we explore the shape of the letter X in two occurrences at Kiplin.

Firstly, we look back into the archives at Kiplin Hall. Many letters, diaries and scrapbooks from the owners are in storage at the museum, with some items on public display in the historic rooms. It is in one of these historic documents that we find our first X.

Diary entries from the Earl of Tyrconnel in 1844 read “Made very miserable by Lady T being X with me.”

In the diary of John Delaval Carpenter, 4th Earl of Tyrconnel, who owned Kiplin with his wife Sarah Crowe from 1818 – 1868, we find the letter X being used as shorthand for the word ‘cross’. An entry made in October 1844 reads “Made very miserable by Lady T being X with me.” We can wonder what made Lady T angry. Later in the entry John Delaval Carpenter reveals he had purchased an expensive brooch and gifted it to another women, a young lady called Augusta. Perhaps it was this that made Lady T ‘X’?

Kiplin Halls brick exterior features a decoration of black bricks in a X called diapering

The second occurrence of the X is far less hidden. It is a symbol the building of Kiplin Hall actually wears with pride. The red brick exterior of the hall features a pattern of black bricks, crisscrossing in a X, called diapering. This was a very fashionable architectural style in the 1600s when Kiplin was built, especially in London. Very few buildings in this area of North Yorkshire would have been built from brick. Rather the more affordable locally quarried stone was used. This high-class brick building sent a very clear message about the status of its owners.


The overall effect of the diapering creates diamond shaped blocks. The word ‘diaper’ is used in North America for a baby’s nappy, and is thought to be linked back to the diamond shape of old cloth nappies which would be folded and pinned in place. Much like terry towel nappies in the UK. The Calvert family who built Kiplin Hall also went on the found the state of Maryland in the USA, this is one of many trans-Atlantic connections at Kiplin.

Kiplin invites visitors to step back to the era that made modern life, the 1970s, with Retro X-mas displays until Sunday 12th December.

Of course, we cannot talk about the letter X without making mention of the current X-mas display at Kiplin Hall and Gardens; A Retro Christmas. Which takes a festive look back to the era that made modern life, the 1970s. The kitsch displays, disco ball trail, and festive flavours in the Tea Room welcome visitors until Sunday 12th December, after which the museum and gardens will close for winter until Friday 4th February. Check opening times at


Join us in a fortnight as we explore the letter Y…