We love The National Trust. We get great value and enjoyment from our annual membership. In the part of Sussex where we live there are at least three stunning properties within 30 minutes drive from us so we regularly visit Wakehurst Place, Nymans and Sheffield Park.
It's not often we take time to go further afield on days off while at home, but spurred on by the good weather and the opportunity for a picnic we decided to visit Bateman's, a National Trust property we had not been to before and only an hour's drive away
Located in Burwash, East Sussex, Bateman's was Rudyard Kipling's home from 1902 until his death in 1936. The 17th Century house was bequeathed to the National Trust by his widow on her death in 1939.
"A good and peaceable place" - Kipling on his beloved Sussex home
After our picnic, we had a very interesting tour inside the house...
Kipling's writing desk has been preserved just as it was, together with his fine collection of books that look as if they have been read.
the formal garden
When at home, Kipling found great inspiration from his garden and indeed was so inspired to write a poem about the glory of the gardens of England...
The Glory of the Garden - Rudyard Kipling
OUR England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks...
And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise ;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.
And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows ;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come....
Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:-" Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one....
Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away !