Friday, 6 September 2013

Pictures of Rudyard Kipling's home for Finn*

It was the heartbreaking Locomobile
 that brought us to the house called Bateman's.

We reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane.

When they saw the house they said,

'That's her! The only She! 
Make an honest woman of her - quick!

Rudyard Kipling was already world-famous
when he bought Bateman's in 1902.
He wanted to live somewhere
 peaceful and secluded
and decided not to have a telephone!

The work on the garden,
which he designed himself,
was paid for out of the £7,700
he received for the Nobel Prize in 1907.
That's about $300,105 in today's money.

There is a working watermill.

The windows are engraved with verses.
This one reads,

Stop and hearken to me!
I will have no shredded wheat
And crucified flour for my tea.
I will have no wafers of rye;
But out of your golden hoard
I will have some honest meat
To bake a loaf for my board.

The miller is filling the hopper with grain.
The wheels must not turn if there is no grain
running through, because sparks might cause a fire.
There is a bell on a strap which is held down by 
a full hopper of corn.
When the hopper is nearly empty,
the strap is released and the bell rings a warning.

Visitors can try their hand at grinding corn
with a small millstone.

When Kipling was tired of his guests 
he would take them out into the garden
to look at his sundial.
It bears the inscription,
It is later than you think.
He hoped that they would take the hint
and decide to go home.

The front cover of my copy of
Just So Stories
shows How the Elephant Got his Trunk.

*Finn is a young fellow somewhere in the USA
who is studying Rudyard Kipling
with his mother Polly this term.
He has a sister, Annie,
whose hair is long enough for plaits now.
We have never met.


  1. I enjoyed everything about this. Especially the door.

  2. He was clearly his own man, and made his own space with independent creativity and flair. I would like to see the curtains in the only She, and Annie in her plaits.

  3. Lucille, I would never have known about this house, and the mill, and the garden, without this lovely post!

    Thank you so much for adding to my Kipling knowledge. Your photographs and guiding words compliment each other so very well.


  4. This is enchanting! I cannot WAIT to show Finn in the morning. He is going to be smitten with the water wheel in particular, but *I* am smitten with the engraved windows. I adore them.

    Oh, this makes me want to fly to England! Thank you for sharing these beautiful slices of his home with us. So thoughtful and kind.

  5. What a beautiful place - I would be quite happy to retire there. Wasn't there some sort of catastrophe regarding his son?

    1. His son John died aged 18 during WW1 having insisted on enlisting despite his extreme short-sightedness. He was killed on his second day in action at Loos.
      Josephine his eldest daughter died aged 6 in the US from pneumonia.

  6. Coincidentally, I am currently reading Marghanita Laskis's book about him 'From Palm to Pine'.

  7. Lovely post this is! I particularly liked the bit about the sundial: "It's later than you think."

    What a wonderful house.