The Carpenters – Kiplin in the 19th century

Robert Crowe’s daughter, Sarah, married John Delaval Carpenter, the 4th Earl of Tyrconnel, in 1817. On the death of their uncle, George Carpenter, 2nd Earl, John’s elder brother George became the 3rd Earl. He died at Vilna in 1812 aged only 25, having volunteered to serve with the Russian forces pursuing the retreating French army, and John Delaval Carpenter unexpectedly became the 4th Earl.

In 1818, Sarah inherited the Kiplin estate on the death of her father. The profligate 2nd Earl appears to have dissipated whatever wealth the Carpenter family had, and Kiplin remained Lord and Lady Tyrconnel’s home for half a century until his death in 1853 and hers in 1868. John Delaval Carpenter became ‘tenant for life’ rather than outright owner and appears to have routinely consulted his wife about the running of the estate.

Like the Crowes before him, Lord Tyrconnel was active in the local militia. In a portrait of him in the Dining Room, he is wearing the uniform of a captain in the North Yorkshire Corps of Yeomanry. He was also a keen yachtsman, a Fellow of the Royal Society and may have been interested in the development of railway technology. Between 1846 and 1848, he sold areas of Kiplin land in Scorton to the Great North of England Railway Company.

Lord and Lady Tyrconnel immediately planned improvements to the Hall. In 1818, the architect P.F. Robinson prepared drawings for a Gothic-style drawing room to be added to the south of the house, balancing the Crowe’s service wing to the north. An 1830s’ print by Sir Gardner Wilkinson shows an elegant and fashionable space for entertaining, reading and making music, designed in ‘Wyatville’s Gothic’. It was probably in the 1820s that they filled in the battlements at the tops of the towers and had the ogee domes redesigned. Lady Tyrconnel also improved the gardens and pleasure grounds to the north and east of the Hall.

Sadly their only daughter died on the day of her birth and the Tyrconnels had to choose an heir to their extensive estate. In 1868, Kiplin passed to a great-nephew of the Earl, Captain Walter Cecil Talbot, second son of Henry John Chetwynd Talbot, the 18th Earl of Shrewsbury. Walter was a naval officer who had served in the Baltic and Crimean wars and had been stationed in the Caribbean in 1866. He continued his naval career until his retirement in 1896, by which time he was a full Admiral and the senior naval officer in Ireland. There were conditions to the inheritance: Walter Talbot must legally change his name to Carpenter, he must marry a Protestant and remain one himself, and every seven years his faith must be tested by a team of Anglican clergymen. He fulfilled the first condition in 1868 and the second one in 1869, when he married Maria Mundy, daughter of the governor of Grenada. Maria died of complications following the birth of their daughter, Sarah, in April 1876.

Between 1868 and 1887, Walter Carpenter made improvements to the Hall and outbuildings at Kiplin, although the main house may have been periodically rented to tenants. In 1875, the entrance Hall was transformed into a Jacobean-style room with oak panelling and a decorative plaster ceiling (see page 3). In 1878, he engaged William Eden Nesfield to design and supervise the construction of a new stable wing, improve the servants’ wing and install a clock-tower over the entrance into the back courtyard. Between 1878 and 1880, a gate lodge was built on the Northallerton road, from which a new carriage drive wound through the parkland to impressive gates leading into a gravel courtyard in front of the house. He also began to improve a number of the tenant farm houses on the estate.

In 1887, Admiral Carpenter married Beatrice de Grey, second daughter of the 5th Lord Walsingham. Her elder sister, Emily, had married Walter Carpenter’s youngest brother, Alfred Talbot, in 1882. The Admiral began further improvements to make Kiplin Hall more comfortable for his new wife and his daughter Sarah, now eleven years old. He again engaged Nesfield to enlarge the south wing by raising the roof to add an extra floor above the old Gothic drawing room, which he transformed into a fine Jacobean-style library.

Until the Admiral’s death in 1904, the Carpenter family enjoyed the typical country house lifestyle of the period, with house parties, shooting, fishing, boating, tennis, theatricals and music. They kept scrapbooks full of fascinating details and photographs of family members and friends who came to visit, the entertainments enjoyed and the visits made to other houses all around the country. They and their extended families were involved in artistic, literary, political and sporting pursuits, adding interest to all their lives. Evidence of the Carpenters’ lives may be seen throughout the Hall. The family portraits, furniture, books, art objects and archives tell of a country house at its peak and a lifestyle of privilege and prosperity.

The Carpenter Pedigree in Stained Glass

The Library has a number of stained glass windows which show the Carpenter family pedigree in stained glass. For more information on these ...