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The National Trust: Monk’s House; Home of Virginia Woolf

The Lane to Monks House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

The Lane to Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Parking at the end of a narrow country lane in Rodmell, Sussex, we walked to the  National Trust Property of Monk’s House, the country cottage that was the home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf from 1919 until her death in 1941. There are few houses on this country lane and it is quiet and peaceful. That is the exact reason it was purchased in the first place. During WWI Virginia lived in nearby Firle to escape the hubbub of London, and the war, and to diminish the anxiety and depressive episodes that she experienced when stressed. Following the war she and Leonard bought Monk’s House and lived there a good part of the year, as Leonard thought it was better for her health.

This is what I learned……….

Unlike other homes we have visited on The National Trust, Monk’s House is a small unpretentious home, that anyone could have lived in. I would have loved to have lived in this house! It is not too big, but cozy, and the interior is a time capsule of the 1930’s. You get the feeling Virginia is waiting to greet you at the door! The house itself is a timber framed, but weather boarded house, that originally had a Sussex stone roof, but now is slate.

The front of the house faces the garden, the back is to the street, as we see here. Let’s go in the gate!

The Entrance to Monk's House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

The Entrance to Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Sign at Monk's House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Sign at Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Monks House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Monks House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

Previously renting an old roundhouse windmill,  Virginia and Leonard saw the advertisement for the auction of Monk’s House, which included three other small cottages and a 3/4 acre garden. Spread out on the lawn, during the auction, were the provisions and paintings from the previous owners, the Glazebrook family.  The Woolfs bought the property and three primitive paintings for 700 pounds. Another draw to the house was the fact that Virginia’s sister, Vanessa, had bought the farmhouse, Charleston, just a few miles away, where she and several members of the Bloomsbury Group had settled to entertain and paint.

The house was derelict when they moved in…… no electricity, no running water and no inside toilets, just a earth closet in the garden. I wasn’t sure what an earth closet was so I have included a picture here with instructions!

Slowly, as finances improved they updated the house adding bathrooms, which included an inside toilet in 1926, and a kitchen. The two bathrooms were paid for from Virginia’s earnings from Mrs. Dalloway and she often said when she was going to the toilet that she was going to see Mrs. Dalloway! By 1929 with the earnings from their Hogarth press business, (remember Virginia was printing and hand binding books for therapy), they decided to add  a two story extension, which included “a room of one’s own.”  The sitting room was moved upstairs because the view of the garden and South Downs was beautiful and Virginia used the downstairs room as her bedroom. The only way in and out of her bedroom was via a door to the garden. Leonard slept at the opposite room of the house and every  morning brought Virginia her coffee in bed.

Virginia's Room of her Own, Monks House, Sussex, UK

Virginia’s Room of her Own, Monk’s House, Sussex, UK

The lower to door is to the kitchen of the main house and used to be a shed!

The Kitchen Entrance at Monks House, Rodmell, UK

The Kitchen Entrance at Monk’s House, Rodmell, UK

A Room of One's Own, Monks House, Rodmell, Sussex, UK

A Room of One’s Own, Monk’s House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia's Bedroom, Monks House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia’s Bedroom, Monk’s House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia’s favorite color was viridian green!  Her friends and family thought it horrid!

More property was added so they could have an unobstructed view of the South Downs,   and a writing lodge was tucked into the orchard garden for a retreat for Virginia.

The South Downs, Monks House, Rodmell, UK

The South Downs, Monk’s House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia's Writing Lodge, Monks House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia’s Writing Lodge, Monk’s House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia's Bedroom Writing Area, Monks House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia’s Lodge Writing Area, Monks House, Rodmell, UK

Behind the back garden wall sits St Peter’s Church, which I thought made the grounds very peaceful and serene. The garden was Virginia’s source of inspiration.

St Peters Church, Rodmell, UK

St Peter’s Church, Rodmell, UK

A View of St Peters Church, from the Garden at Monks House, Rodmell, UK

A View of St Peters Church, from the Garden at Monks House, Rodmell, UK

By 1939 the Woolfs were living full time at Monks House to escape the bombing in London. Their home in Bloomsbury was destroyed. The peace was shattered for Virginia when German bombers flew low, almost daily, over Sussex on their way to bomb London.  Her brother provided both of them with lethal doses of morphine in case the Germans invaded. During this time they were both nervous because Leonard was Jewish and Virginia was listed in Hitler’s black book. The anxiety took its toll and Virginia committed suicide by filling her pockets with rocks and drowning herself in the nearby Ouse River. She left two suicide notes, one for Leonard and one for her sister, Vanessa. Her ashes were scattered unceremoniously under an Elm tree in the backyard.

Leonard lived at Monks House for 50 years and died there in 1969, at the age of 88. He left the cottage and property to his friend Trekkie Ritchee Parsons, who really didn’t know what to do with it and so passed it to the University of Sussex. The university sold off the 4000 books and rented the house to visiting lecturers. Eventually it was too much for them and they gave the house to The National Trust in 1980. A sizable sum of money was raised by Quentin and Angelica Bell (Virginia’s surviving nephew and niece; children of Vanessa) for the upkeep.  Quentin was at this time a Professor of Fine Art and History of Ceramics at the University of Sussex. Together they helped to restore the house to 90% of how it was in Leonard’s and Virginia’s time there. We were able to explore four of the rooms of the cottage, the rest of the house is cordoned off for the resident caretaker. There are guides in each room who can explain all the artifacts and what they meant to the family. It was a joy to visit and next we’ll explore the garden at Monk’s House!  See you there! 

Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Monk's House, Rodmell, UK

Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Monk’s House, Rodmell, UK

A Room of One’s Own: The Life of Virginia Woolf

Virginia Stephen Woolf

Virginia Stephen Woolf

What I knew about Virginia Woolf was revealed to me in a film titled, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The only thing I knew for certain after the movie was that the couple never stopped yelling. That’s all I remember. Was that yelling person Virginia Woolf?  Who was the real Virginia Woolf? Somewhere, along the way, I realized she was an author, but  I never explored it any further. So I was excited to learn that her home, Monk’s House, was part of the National Trust. I wanted to know about the Virginia Woolf!

What I learned about Virginia Woolf…………as  I attempt to sort her story out.

Adeline Virginia Stephen was born on January 25, 1882 into a well-heeled family. Both her wealthy, influential, mother and father had been married previously, and widowed, with four children between them, before the birth of Virginia and her three siblings. Thus the family contained the children of three marriages.  Her father, Leslie Stephen, was an eminent editor, critic, and biographer; her mother, Julia Princep Duckworth Stephen, was committed to serving the poor. Virginia and Vanessa, (Virginia’s natural older sister), were educated at home, while the boys attended Cambridge.  The family was well connected and the children were raised in an environment of great literary works, with an immense library, but also under the influences of Victorian society. However, between 1897 and 1901 Vanessa and Virginia were allowed to attend the Ladies’ Department of King’s College, London, to study Ancient Greek, Latin, German, and history. Virginia thrived with all this knowledge.

The early years were rough going for the Stephen’s family. Virginia’s oldest half-sister, Laura Makepeace Stephen, from her father’s first marriage, was committed to an insane asylum. Virginia’s mother suddenly died in 1895, when Virginia was thirteen, followed by the death of another half-sister, Stella Duckworth, two years later. These events and possible child abuse by the older Duckworth brothers, led to the first of Virginia’s several nervous breakdowns. When her father died in 1904 Virginia collapsed and was briefly institutionalized and would be in and out of Burley House in Twickenham, described as “a private nursing home for women with nervous disorders”, in 1910, 1912, and 1913. Though her instability affected her private life, her literary productivity increased and was continued throughout her life. Her bouts of mental illness were thought to have been the result of what is now termed a bipolar disorder. She was extremely fragile.

Vanessa Stephen, being the oldest of the Stephen children, decided to sell the fashionable family home at 22 Hyde Park Gate and bought a house at 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, (a bohemian, not so nice area of London), where Virginia and her brothers and sister, (Thoby, Adrian, and Vanessa) could escape the restraints, criticism, and gossip of a strict Victorian society.

A group of twelve intellectual Cambridge men, known as the “Apostles”, were among the friends of Thoby. The men gathered at the  Bloomsbury home on Thursday evenings to have dinner and discuss anything and everything late into the wee hours of the morning. Virginia and Vanessa attended the meetings as well. Vanessa, who was mostly interested in art, later started a Friday night group consisting of artists and critics. Virginia at this time began writing for the Times Literary Supplement, a forum for literary culture; bringing scholars, scientists, and artists together to address questions of value, meaning and purpose.  Hefty stuff!  Together this young, educated, and elite group  wanted to change the world. The Bloomsbury Group became very close and chose to live a lifestyle all their own, while supporting each other’s endeavors. (More on the Bloomsbury Group in a later post).

Thoby died from typhoid, at age 26, after he and Vanessa fell ill following a vacation in Greece. Soon after Vanessa married Clive Bell, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, and moved out of the Bloomsbury home, leaving Adrian and Virginia to fend for themselves.  Virginia was very upset by this move. Could Vanessa no longer cope with Virginia’s fragile mental state, attention and needs? Vanessa was more of a free spirit and she wanted her freedom from being the “mother” to her siblings. Virginia reluctantly accepted this, but would ultimately get her revenge.  Virginia rented a cottage in Firle, in the Sussex countryside, but continued her friendship and meetings with the Bloomsbury Group, of which Vanessa and Clive Bell were still a part of.

During this time, Leonard Woolf, another Cambridge man, briefly met Virginia Stephen at one of the forays in Bloomsbury, before leaving for a diplomatic post in Ceylon. Lytton Strachey, another Bloomsbury member, had proposed to Virginia (although he was a homosexual) and was quite pleased and relieved, when she turned him down. In correspondence to Leonard, during his stay in Ceylon, Lytton convinced Leonard that when he returned to England he should give up his job and propose to Virginia, and he did. They barely knew one another, and although Leonard was poor and Jewish, Virginia accepted. It was 1912 and Virginia was thirty. Did Virginia need someone to take care of her? Was Leonard aware of Virginia’s state of mind? The answer was yes she did and no he didn’t.

Virginia’s writings were very controversial, supporting the thoughts of the Bloomsbury Group of radical thinking, women’s rights and the freedom to love both men and women. She found it increasingly hard to get her work published and  was  at odds with “polite society”.

In 1915 Virginia completed her book, Voyage Out, and she and Leonard set up Hogarth Press to publish Virginia’s work and the work of her liberal friends: the hand printing providing a hobby as well as therapy for Virginia. In 1919 the Woolfs bought Monk’s House, in the countryside of Sussex, where Leonard thought Virginia could write in peace with less mental stress. Although Virginia loved the city and all it’s trappings and busywork, the move was a success for her mental health.  Virginia had no more mental breakdowns for twenty years. That’s not to say their life was uneventful, as you will find when we discuss Vanessa’s life.

One of Virginia’s books that I found very interesting was Mrs Dalloway. She definitely had a flair and gift with words and she experimented with stream of consciousness and the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of her characters. Who was more prepared to write like this than Virginia? Her novels were highly experimental, with a narrative frequently uneventful and commonplace, as we see in Mrs Dalloway. This book centers on the efforts of Clara Dalloway, a middle-aged society woman, to organize a party, as her life is paralleled with that of Septmus Warren Smith, a working- class veteran who has just returned from WWI bearing deep emotional scars. The book has no chapters, does not explain anything, and no conversation is needed. It is just one continuous thought. (Stream of Consciousness) The story is the thoughts of Mrs Dalloway, in one given day! You know how you think things to yourself, your own running commentary as you go about the business of your day? This is Mrs. Dalloway! Her thoughts, just like ours, that jump from one to another. And then the day ends. It’s quite remarkable to be put into words and is extraordinary in thought! I’ve never read anything like it! Virginia went on to publish novels and essays as a public individual to both critical and popular success. In her book-length essay, A Room of Own’s Own, (1929) she wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” She achieved this at Monk’s House.  Now with our background somewhat complete, we’ll visit her home at Monk’s House, to learn more about her and the intertwining lives of others.  I can’t wait to see where this incredibly complex woman lived!  See you there!

Virginia Woolf

Listen to Virginia Woolf Speak

The National Trust: Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Today we are visiting another estate belonging to the National Trust. How exactly did the National Trust get stated?

This is what I learned.

Octavia Hill, the eighth daughter of nine children, born into a modest family, was a social reformer, with a strong commitment to alleviating poverty in the late nineteenth century. With no formal education, she worked from the age of 14 for the welfare of working people. She wanted to improve the housing of the working classes. Due to a severe shortage of available property, she decided to become a landlord herself. John Ruskin provided the money to buy three cottages of six rooms each, and placed Hill to manage them. She improved the properties, all which had been on dilapidated ground, among cowsheds and manure. Hill was a very prudent manager believing  in personal responsibility, and punctual payment. She visited each home personally paying careful attention to allocations with regard to size of families and location of the accommodation offered. It was mandatory that the head of the family work, send his children to school, and not overcrowd his rooms, in addition to paying the rent on time.  As her holdings increased to over 3000 cottages, she added assistants, who checked every detail of the premises, and got to know the tenants personally. She promoted tenant’s associations and after-work, and children’s after school programs. This was an early stage of social work. Among Hill’s concerns was that her  tenant’s and all urban workers should have access to open spaces. She believed in “the life-enhancing virtues of pure earth, clean air and blue sky”. She wanted four things. Places to sit, places to play in, places to stroll in and places to spend a day in. She campaigned against building on existing suburban woodlands. Together she and Ruskin conceived of a trust that could buy and preserve places of natural beauty and historic places for the nation.

The National Trust was formed in 1875 and the first property, acquired in 1896, was the rare 14th century, thatched and timber-framed, Wealden “hall house,” in Alfriston. The Alfriston Clergy House was built in 1350 by a farmer who prospered after the Black Death. In 1395 the house was taken over by St Andrew’s Church, which is close by, and used as a vicarage, and eventually rented out for income. In 1885 church authorities wanted the house demolished. Rev F.W. Beynon campaigned to save the house and contacted the newly formed National Trust. Harriet Coates was the last person to live in the house before it was purchased in 1896 for ten pounds, by the National Trust, which now maintains the property. 

Today, the Alfriston Clergy House, is surrounded by a tranquil cottage garden full of wildlife, with beautiful views of the River Cuckmere. Alfriston is a small village of 760, noted in the Doomsday Book as Aelfrictun, (the son of Alfric).  Coming to the village green we find a local winery, announcing the the direction of the Clergy House.

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Way to Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The oak leaf is the symbol of the National Trust. Here in the eaves of the Clergy House is a carved oak leaf. Perhaps it was the inspiration for the symbol? Look for it on signs signifying homes on the National Trust.

Oak Leaf National Trust, Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, UK

Oak Leaf Symbol of National Trust, Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, UK

Here is a look at the timber-framed house.

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Next we visit the tidy garden and the gardeners who keep it that way!

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The water runs from the Cuckmere River, which is nearby, right along the back of the cottage, creating the perfect setting in the South Downs!

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

As with all National Trust properties, there is a gift shop which sells goods specific to that property, along with plants from the property. If I lived here I’d have to have a plant from each National Trust estate!

Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Clergy House Gift Shop, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew’s Church, with Saxon origins, is known as “The Cathedral of the South Downs,” and is surrounded by a flowered graveyard. Built in the form of a cross it sits on a small flint-walled mound in the middle of the local village green.

St Andrew's Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew's Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew's Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew's Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Let’s explore the village. The streets are narrow and don’t allow for parking, but a parking lot can be found at the end of the village and it is just a short walk to the pubs and other historic sites.  The Star Inn, a religious hostel built in 1345 and used to accommodate monks and pilgrims, is now one of three pubs in the village.  Later a smuggling gang used the inn as a base, before the leader was transported to Australia in 1830. The George Inn and the Smugglers Inn are also pubs located along the main road through Alfriston.

Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Star Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Star Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

We popped into The George Inn for a bite to eat. We had a drink inside and then went outside in the garden to have a meal. YUMMY!

The George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Garden at the George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Garden at the George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Garden at the George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Food at the George Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Smugglers Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Smugglers Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Smugglers Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Smugglers Inn, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Walking through the village we see the small shops and monuments of the village.

The Village Store, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Village Store and Post Office, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Market Square, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Market Square, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Market Square, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Market Square, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

This was my favorite “little house” in Alfriston. I could live here!

Little House in Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Little House in Alfriston, Sussex, UK

No records survive to establish what function this little building once served. A map of 1874 marks it as a dovecote, but it’s sufficiently similar to examples in other parts of the country to suggest that this was, in fact, Alfriston’s lock-up, where the local hotheads and drunks were left to cool down before the administration of justice. Yikes!

Alfriston Lock Up, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Alfriston Lock Up, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

I called this house, “Lavender Door Cottage.” I absolutely loved it! Alfriston is a beautiful village and we had a great day exploring the first house on the National Trust!  It had a place to sit, a place to play, a place to stroll, and was a wonderful place to spend the day in! Octavia Hill would be so proud! See you tomorrow at another property! Enjoy!

The Lavender Door Cottage, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

The Lavender Door Cottage, Alfriston, Sussex, UK

Bateman’s: Home of Rudyard Kipling

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, U

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The National Trust was set up to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty for the enjoyment of the British public. We are members of the National Trust (in the U.S. this is called the Royal Oak Society) which allowed us entry into the historic sites and provided a parking permit. The first National Trust property we toured, on my English Garden Tour, was Bateman’s, home of Rudyard Kipling; an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children.

What I learned at Bateman’s:

Rudyard Kipling bought the Bateman’s Estate, in 1902, to escape the tourist attraction he had become, at his home in Brighton.   His wife found the sand-stoned estate in Burwash, East Sussex, built in 1634 by local ironmaster, John Bateman. It had 33 acres with outbuildings and a mill, no bathrooms, no running water upstairs, and no electricity, but Kipling loved it. In a letter he wrote, “Behold us, lawful owners of a grey stone lichened house- A.D. 1634 over the door– beamed, panelled, with old oak staircase, and all untouched and unfaked. It is a good and peaceable place. We have loved it ever since our first sight of it.”

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Kipling had a road built from the village to his estate at Bateman’s. His car, which was driven by a chauffeur, was a 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1.  The car is on the property in one of the out buildings, now used as part of the museum.

The Main Gate to Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Main Gate to Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Lavender Walk, Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Lavender Walk, Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

An oast is found in the peaceful, secluded, garden and is now used for a gift shop selling plants, Kipling souvenirs, books, and flour from the flour mill on the property.

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

There is also  a lovely restaurant serving seasonal lunches, and homemade cakes with inside or outside seating. It was a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy the garden.

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Here is the flower shop at Bateman’s!

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Kipling, born in Bombay, India to British nationals, was sent at the age of five, to England, to live with people who boarded children of British nationals, who were serving in India. He and his three year old sister, Trix, lived there for six years and Kipling recalled the stay with horror and thought the cruelty and neglect he experienced hastened the onset of his literary career. He had turned to writing for comfort. The two Kipling children, however, did have relatives in England whom they could visit. They spent a month each Christmas with their maternal aunt, Georgiana and her husband, at their house, “The Grange,” in Fulham, London, which Kipling was to call “a paradise which I verily believe saved me.” When “The Grange” was sold Kipling bought the antique doorbell and placed it at Bateman’s, to remind him how he had loved his stay there. 

The Door Bell at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Door Bell at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

There was also a hidden room ( Mrs. Kipling’s private room with a peephole) just above the entry which allowed her to say yea or nay when someone showed up at the house to visit. With a ring of a bell she relayed whether the guests should be allowed to stay or turned away. She was very protective of Kipling’s privacy and his writing time.

Here is Kipling’s desk and library; his personal paradise.

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Kipling’s poems and works of fiction include, “Gunga Din” (1892), The Jungle Book (1894), and Kim (1901), Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906), and Rewards and Fairies (1910). Pook’s Hill  was part of the estate at Bateman’s. The latter contained the poem, “If.  In a 1995 BBC opinion poll, it was voted the U.K.’s favorite poem. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Acres of countryside provide a tranquil retreat.

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Here an oast, near the mill, has been converted to the caretaker’s cottage.

Caretaker's Cottage at Bateman's, Esat Sussex, UK

Caretaker’s Cottage at Bateman’s, Esat Sussex, UK

A very knowledgable guide instructed us on the workings of the mill.

The Mill at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The Mill at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Kipling had three children. After the death of his oldest daughter, Josephine, at age six from pneumonia, he published the first of many children’s books. One was Just So Stories for Little Children.

Kipling actively encouraged his youngest, and only son, to go to war. Kipling’s son, John, died in the First World War, at the Battle of Loos, in September 1915, at age 18. John had initially wanted to join the Royal Navy, but having had his application turned down after a failed medical examination due to poor eyesight, he opted to apply for military service as an Army officer. But again, his eyesight was an issue during the medical examination and he was rejected. His father had been lifelong friends with Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British Army, and colonel of the Irish Guards, and at Rudyard’s request, John was accepted into the Irish Guards.

He was sent to Loos two days into the battle in a reinforcement contingent. He was last seen stumbling through the mud blindly, screaming in agony after an exploding shell had ripped his face apart. A body identified as his was not found until 1992, although that identification has been challenged.

After his son’s death, Kipling wrote, “If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied.” It is speculated that these words may reveal his feelings of guilt at his role in getting John a commission in the Irish Guards.

Kipling became friends with a French soldier whose life had been saved in the First World War when his copy of Kim, which he had in his left breast pocket, stopped a bullet. The soldier presented Kipling with the book (with bullet still embedded) and his Croix de Guerre as a token of gratitude. They continued to correspond, and when the soldier, Maurice Hammoneau, had a son, Kipling insisted on returning the book and medal. 

Partly in response to John’s death, Kipling joined the Imperial War Graves Commission, the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front, and all the other locations around the world where troops of the British Empire lie buried. His most significant contribution to the project was his selection of the biblical phrase,”Their Name Liveth For Evermore”,  found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war cemeteries and his suggestion of the phrase “Known unto God” for the gravestones of unidentified servicemen. He chose the inscription “The Glorious Dead” on the Cenotaph, Whitehall, London. He also wrote a two-volume history of the Irish Guards, his son’s regiment, that was published in 1923 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of regimental history.

Let’s take a stroll through the vegetable and flower gardens before we leave!

A Walk Through the Vegetable Gardens at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Vegetable Gardens at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

A Walk Through the Vegetable Gardens at Bateman's

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

After the death of Kipling’s wife in 1939, his house, “Bateman’s,  where he had lived from 1902 until 1936, was bequeathed to the National Trust and is now a public museum dedicated to the author. Elsie Bambridge, his only child, who lived to maturity, died childless in 1976, and also bequeathed her copyrights to the National Trust, which in turn donated them to the University of Sussex, in Brighton, to ensure better public access. We truly enjoyed our day at Bateman’s! See you tomorrow at another National Trust property! Enjoy!

Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex, UK

The (MY) English Garden Tour: Garden 12, Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

The original tree, that dominated the previous garden, before the houses were built!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

We have reached our final garden in Warninglid, at the Yeoveney House. This garden is planted with rhododendron, camellias, azaleas, and hostas and other lovely plants in shades of lime green and chocolate-black colorings that have been so popular in the gardens here. As usual there was a “special something,” featured in this garden too. Each garden was so different and interesting!

 I want to take this time also to answer questions that I have been asked over the past weeks while I wrote these posts.  I was not in a specialized, planned, garden tour with a group. First, I joined the National Trust Society. (in the U.S. it is called The Royal Oak Society)  I do not remember exactly how I came to know about the National Garden Schemes, (maybe Facebook?) but I planned and researched the trip on my own, in order to visit the National Trust homes and the gardens on the NGS in the area of Kent and Sussex. All the listings were in the books I received after joining their societies. I just picked an area I thought would be interesting and went for it! I was not disappointed! The gardens we have visited have been splendid and it has been one of our best vacations ever! We loved driving around the countryside, eating in the local pubs, discovering the gardens, and visiting with other gardeners! This allowed us to get out and really enjoy the locals and learn about the UK! So without further ado, I give you Youveney House Garden. Thank you Warninglid, and the other gardens we visited, for making our garden tour so special!

Here is the back of Yeoveney House, revealing the conservatory linked to a new art studio!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

The special surprise at Yeoveney House was a WWI memorial!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

The people in the background are checking out the artwork!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

This gardener loves hostas as much as I do! You can never have enough!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Wow, this is a beauty!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Beautiful sweet peas!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Everything is so neat and tidy!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

In front of the garden shed were raised beds for vegetables in the garden.

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here is the strawberry patch!  Clever!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Let’s add the tomato garden as well.

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

My favorite, favorite, favorite! Love the color!!!!!

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

Yeoveney House, Warninglid, Sussex

We say goodbye to Warninglid at the red telephone booth in the village center. We had a great time! See you tomorrow at Batemans, a National Trust Estate! Enjoy!

The Red Telephone Booth, Warninglid, Sussex

The Red Telephone Booth, Warninglid, Sussex

The England Garden Tour: Garden 11, Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Anchoring the end of Cuckfield Lane, the garden at Beeches was like taking a walk in a National Park. The owners have spent twenty years adding many shrubs and specialty trees to their two acre natural woodland garden. Linked ponds and pools of different levels were also created from a ditch on their property.  The look of this garden is very different from the others we have visited in Warninglid and that is what has made them all so special! Now following the path around another dutch design cottage let’s take a walk to the back! 

Here is a fabulous extension to their cottage! A glass house if I ever saw one!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

There is a freshly mowed path for us to follow through the woods.

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

I loved the foxgloves and ferns that just popped up everywhere!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Don’t you just love this color of red? It just makes the woodlands pop!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

And here, by the first pond, the plum color of that tree just draws your eye to that area!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

This was the first of many ponds. So tranquil!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

The owner sat by the edge of a pond, sipping his tea, and occasionally detailed what we were looking at and what he had done to create the ponds.

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

The water trough.

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

This owl won’t be drinking from the trough. He was sculpted from that tree!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

And for the finale, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree! We enjoyed Beeches!  See you tomorrow in the garden!

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

Beeches, Warninglid, Sussex

The English Garden Tour: Garden 10, Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House is a lovely dutch-design looking cottage sitting on an acre of ground that is wheel-chair accessible. Here on Cuckfield Lane we are seeing a more architecturally diverse style of home. The modern use of the term, dutch design, is to indicate a broad gambrel roof with flaring eaves that extend over the long sides, resembling a barn in construction. The early houses built by settlers were often a single room, with additions added to either end (or short side) and very often a porch along both long sides. Typically, walls were made of stone and a chimney was located on one or both ends. Looking at the front of this cottage we indeed see the placement of two chimneys and the tell-tale gambrel roof. Following a sweep of lawn and a herbaceous border, with a large climbing pale, pink rose clinging to the cottage, we are invited to come look.

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Following the drive around the house to a large, smooth, flat area in the back, we see it is perfect for a croquet match!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here is the walkway into the garden at the back of the cottage.

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex.

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex.

There is a room on the back, adding an extension to the house, just as predicted!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex.

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex.

Strolling along the flower beds I spy a tall, curly, woody, pod plant. What is that?  Can one of my gardening friends tell me? It is extraordinary!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here is the LIME and black combo we have seen in several gardens! I would love it in mine too!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Can anyone tell me what the pinky-purple star clusters are? Are they from the allum family?

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

The garden was surrounded by a huge,  huge, well tended hedge! Look for it in other pictures of the garden too!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Love, love, love this color combo!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here is a nice place to sit and watch the croquet match!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Every garden had a greenhouse of some kind!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

This is another unusual plant to me. I thought at first it was made of wood! Those petals did look like sculptured wood, but it was a plant! What is it?

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

I could certainly while-away the hours here and write to my heart’s content in that room!!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Everything is so tidy in the vegetable beds!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

A very tropical looking palm tree got my attention too! There were several plants that I had never seen before in this garden. If you can identify them for me I would very much appreciate it! Hay House was lovely and had so much to offer! I have been so impressed with the choice of gardens here in Warniglid! See you tomorrow in the garden!

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

Hay House, Warninglid, Sussex

The English Garden Tour: Garden 9, The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussix

The Old Church House, Warringlid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warringlid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House garden is only in its third year, starting from scratch, but you would never know it from the look of the garden. Beautiful rose beds and herbaceous borders fill in the woodland’s backdrop. With areas “to stop and rest awhile” to whimsical small pond areas, there is plenty to catch your eye in this garden. I’ll join you in The Old Church House garden! See you there!

Here is the entrance to the garden!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Another Dappled Willow!  Love it with the peach accent of the chair cushions (it blended with the blossoms of the willow) and the soft periwinkle blooms!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Everyone’s enjoying this garden!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Every garden deserves a place to sit and take a look see!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Just add me and a good book to this scene!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here’s a new twist on a bird bath! Look closer!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

And closer yet!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

A crane in an old tub beside the man-made pond! A bird bath! Ha Ha! I loved the use of the ferns here too!!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The sweep of the lawn leads to the borders in front of the woods that make a great barrier between garden and woods.

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here’s the white, white color again!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here’s my favorite color of LIME in the oak leaf hydrangea!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here I like the way the ground cut-out around the plant display is not the same-old, same old! Gives it some character! How about the height and wispiness of that plant?

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The garden butting up to the woods is breathtaking!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Now this plant reminds me of corn stalks, but I know it’s not!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Now in MY garden the deer would jump over that fence and have at it with those yummy looking hosta!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

I just can’t get over how white the flowers are here!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

Here is bit of whimsy and that color combination of lime and purple-black in the background!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

After seeing the beautiful lavender here I vowed to go home and have a serious talk with my lavs!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warringlid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warringlid, Sussex

This was the last garden to see on The Street! Now we’re heading over to Cuckfield Lane to see what they are up to over there! Enjoy! See you tomorrow in the garden!

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The Old Church House, Warninglid, Sussex

The English Garden Tour: Garden of the Day, Roses in Warninglid, Sussex

The roof of the cottage and the roses were in competition for color!

Roses in Warninglid, Sussex

Roses in Warninglid, Sussex

The English Garden Tour: Garden 8, Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage was next on our tour of the Warninglid gardens on the National Garden Schemes. This small garden had just experienced a re-do landscaping plan which raised garden beds and added a seating area. I loved the wood timbered garden room just off the back of the house. The gardens are filling up quickly with enthusiastic gardeners, so lets get in and see the Old Barn Cottage!  I wonder was it really an old barn at one time? It does step back from the other cottages in the row. Love it!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

The raised beds began in the front of the cottage and the look was carried through into the garden in the back. A beautiful garden starts at your front door!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

A welcoming gate invites you in! The cow bell combines the garden and the Old Barn name!

The Entry Gate to old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

The Entry Gate to old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Did you notice the rock display in the front of the cottage? The rock theme was continued throughout the garden! Just a few white rocks scattered here and there adds interest!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Here in the S-curve design of the garden the outdoor table and chair area was raised to a higher level and it really set off the garden.

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

What a mass of color and plants! Love the pink clematis!

 Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

This reminded me of a chalet! Perfect for the cooler weather!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Here the gardeners extended the fence by adding a trellis top to it, with another clematis, drawing your eye UP! Don’t forget the luscious hostas!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

I have never seen such white, white colors in plants before! Is it the soil or the species of plant?

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

My favorite color of green in the garden, LIME!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Another touch of rocks, this time with a little hedgehog!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

This was my favorite plant in this garden! It is a Salix Integra Nakura Nishiki! Or Dappled Willow. Oh, yes I knew that!!!!  Are you kidding? I asked about it AND wrote it down!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

The Dappled Willow UP CLOSE! Peach and white blooms and variated green leaves too!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Ready-made bouquets in the garden!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Just add a fern or two!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Rocks, rocks, save your rocks!

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

It’s so nice to talk to other gardeners about their garden!

The Owners of Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

The Owners of Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

See you tomorrow in another Warninglid garden! Enjoy!

A New Twist on Planters! Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid

A New Twist on Planters! Old Barn Cottage, Warninglid, Sussex

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