House at Bateman's
Bateman's is a 17th century house set in the stunning landscape of the Sussex Weald. Bought by Rudyard Kipling and his wife, who fell in love with the house at first sight, it became a family home. Discover the personal stories of Rudyard Kipling, his wife Carrie and their three children as you explore the house at Bateman's.
A modest yet charming sandstone house, Bateman's was completed around 1634 for a prosperous ironmaster. It was used a farm house after the demise of the Sussex iron industry, before Rudyard Kipling bought the house in 1902 and lived here with his family until his death in 1936.
Enter through the front door into the hall, where Mrs Kipling could keep an eye on unexpected guests from her mezzanine office window, into a Jacobean delight of local oak panelling and a black and white floor, arranged beautifully around the large stone fireplace.
Discover the intriguing story behind the brass fish and listen to the chimes of one of the oldest working clocks in the National Trust’s collection.
Step back in time in Kipling's study
As you enter the study it almost feels as though Kipling has just left to return at any moment. The book-lined walls, his messy desk covered in ink spots and the day bed, with its cigarette burns, are evidence that this was very much his space.
The dining room
The walls of the dining room are decorated with early 18th Century English 'Cordoba' leather hangings depicting birds and foliage. Covered with silver leaf and then varnished they glisten like gold.
" The leather has been bought and is now in our possession. It is lovelier than our wildest dreams and will need immense care."
Mrs Kipling ran a tight ship: dinner was always at eight o’clock sharp, and everyone had to dress in their finery, even if there weren’t any guests. Dinner was usually a very bland affair: due to Rudyard’s duodenal ulcers, the family were restricted to dull meals such as steamed fish and blancmange. However, guests always commented that the wine was very good!
The exhibition room
Elsie Kipling was instrumental in opening Bateman’s to the public in the second half of the 20th Century, and ensured that visitors saw a true representation of the home in which she grew up.
The exhibition room includes all the keepsakes and memories she kept precious, and she presented these items with her own captions, in a way which celebrates her Father and his literary and social work.
We add something new to the exhibition each year: this year we are commemorating 80 years since the National Trust was gifted Bateman’s, featuring nostalgic photographs and newspaper cuttings from the years since 1939.
After 75 years Rudyard Kipling's voice can be heard in the house once again. A Pathé newsreel played in the kitchen has the only known footage of him speaking. Don't miss the phonograph with his verse set to music and select a station on the 1930s radio to hear one of his famous quotations.
Discover the fascinating story behind Rudyard Kipling’s family tree and his connections to pre-Raphaelite artists, Prime Ministers and a fashionable reservoir in Staffordshire. Our volunteer guides have a wealth of knowledge which we love to share: from the British Empire in India to the iron industry in Sussex and everything in between, we aim to enrich your visit with fascinating stories and memorable experiences.