The February Meeting

Wednesday, 9 February 2022 5.30pm for 6.00 pm – at the Royal Overseas League and on zoom.  Richard Howell on ‘One Spot Beloved Over All’ – The Kiplings and the Bateman’s Estate.’

In September 1902 Kipling, with his wife Carrie, moved into Bateman’s, the Jacobean iron-master’s house in the Weald of Sussex, which became his cherished home for the rest of his life.

It is a place surrounded by the relics of its past, under Pook’s Hill, with the Downs beyond, some twelve miles from where the Roman Legions landed at Pevensey, as did the Normans a thousand years later. Centuries before the Romans came men had smelted iron in the Wealden forests.

In Bateman’s the Kiplings settled into English life, in the midst of Old England.

Richard Howell lives in Sussex and knows Bateman’s and its surrounding valley intimately. In 2020 he completed a master’s degree in Country House Studies at the University of Buckingham, writing his dissertation on the development of the estate under the Kiplings, using the estate records held at The Keep, at the University of Sussex. The dissertation describes the Kipling’s gradual acquisition of their land, field by field, and the interest in land management and agriculture that emerged through Rudyard’s friendship with Rider Haggard.