Coordinates: 50°59′21″N 0°22′45″E / 50.9893°N 0.3793°E / 50.9893; 0.3793
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"A good and peaceable place" - Kipling on his beloved Sussex home[1]
LocationBurwash, East Sussex
Coordinates50°59′21″N 0°22′45″E / 50.9893°N 0.3793°E / 50.9893; 0.3793
Architectural style(s)Jacobean
Governing bodyNational Trust
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameBateman's
Designated3 August 1961
Reference no.1044063
Bateman's is located in East Sussex
Location of Bateman's in East Sussex

Bateman's is a 17th-century house located in Burwash, East Sussex, England. It was the home of Rudyard Kipling from 1902 until his death in 1936. The house was built in 1634. Kipling's widow Caroline bequeathed the house to the National Trust on her death in 1939. The house is a Grade I listed building.


Bateman's is a Jacobean Wealden mansion constructed in 1634.[2] There is debate as to the original builder. Historic England follows the tradition favoured by Kipling of ascribing the construction to a Sussex ironmaster, John Britten.[3] The historian Adam Nicolson reports the tradition in the National Trust's guidebook, but notes that Britten was a dealer in iron, rather than a manufacturer.[4] Pevsner attributes the construction to a lawyer, William Langham.[2]

By the early twentieth century, the house had descended to the status of a farmhouse, and was in a poor state of repair.[1] The Kiplings first saw it in 1900, on returning to England from America, following the death of their daughter Josephine in 1899 and a disastrous falling-out between them and Carrie Kipling's brother, Beatty Balestier.[5] Enchanted by the house, they were too slow in making an offer and it was let for two years. In 1902, they were able to purchase it, with 33 acres of land,[6] from a wealthy stockbroker, Alexander Carron Scrimgeour.[7]

In 1900, Kipling was the most famous author in England,[8] and was earning £5,000 per year; the cost of Bateman's, £9,300, was thus entirely affordable.[5] Kipling wrote some of his finest works at the house including: "If—", "The Glory of the Garden", and Puck of Pook's Hill, named after the hill visible from the house.[8] The house's setting and the wider local area features in many of his stories. Kipling's poem "The Land" is inspired by the Bateman's estate.[9]

Kipling's only son, John, was killed at the Battle of Loos on 29 September 1915.[10] Kipling died on 18 January 1936, of peritonitis.[11] Carrie died three years later, in 1939. Under the terms of her will the house passed to the National Trust.[1]

Architecture and description[edit]

The house is built of sandstone to a double-pile plan, and is of two storeys with gables above.[3] The eastern entrance, front may once have been symmetrical with a northern wing matching the southern one.[3] Historic England's listing states that the wing was constructed but later torn down,[3] while Pevsner suggests that it may never have been built.[2] The windows are mullioned and the roof has an "impressive row of six diamond-shaped red brick chimney stacks".[3]

The interior is retained as it was in the time of the Kiplings.[3] The study is almost as Kipling left it, although without the "pungent aroma" of his forty-a-day Turkish cigarette habit.[12] The house contains a significant collection relating to Kipling, amounting to nearly 5,000 individual pieces, including his Nobel Prize, his Rolls-Royce Phantom I, many oriental items he purchased while living in India or touring in the East and paintings he collected by Edward Poynter, Edward Burne-Jones and James Whistler.[13]

The garden was created by Kipling from 1907, using the prize money from his award of the Nobel Prize in Literature.[14] The house is a Grade I listed building, the highest grade reserved for buildings of "exceptional interest".[3]

Park Mill[edit]

Park Mill

There is a water mill on the estate, powered by water from the River Dudwell. The earliest reference to a mill relates to its construction between 1246 and 1248, and first mentioned with the name 'Park' in 1618. The present mill was built between 1751 and 1753, and extended in the 1830s. It became part of the Bateman's estate in the late 19th-century.[15] By Kipling's time, the mill was no longer in operation and he installed an electric turbine in it to provide power for the house.[2] The mill was restored by the Trust in 1975,[2] and again between 2017 and 2020.[15] The mill is itself Grade II listed.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "History at Bateman's". National Trust.
  2. ^ a b c d e Antram & Pevsner 2013, p. 295.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Historic England. "Bateman's, Burwash (1044063)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  4. ^ Nicolson 1999, p. 8.
  5. ^ a b Nicolson 1999, p. 5.
  6. ^ Nicolson 1999, p. 37.
  7. ^ "Batemans and adjoining land, Park House Watermill and part of Dudwell Farm, purchased by Rudyard Kipling on 28 Jul 1902". The National Archives. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  8. ^ a b Aslet 2005, pp. 55–56.
  9. ^ The Land: words and a sung version
  10. ^ "Solving the mystery of Kipling's son". BBC News. 16 September 2018.
  11. ^ Rickets 2000, p. 388.
  12. ^ Garnett 2015, p. 24.
  13. ^ "Bateman's". National Trust Collections. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  14. ^ Jenkins 2003, pp. 749–750.
  15. ^ a b Wilmshurst 2020, p. 3.
  16. ^ "Historic England List Entry 1352936". Retrieved 18 March 2022.


External links[edit]