Once again, the Jacobean Country House, Kiplin Hall will be lit by candles. This is the first opportunity for many a year to see the Hall lit as it would have been from 1620 until modern lighting took over.
On Friday 17 May, as part of the national Museums at Night event all of Kiplin's rooms will be candlelit and throughout the evening, in the Library, selected readings from some of the many books that line the walls will be given. The volumes in Kiplin Hall’s Library were published between 1615 and 1913 and the selections have been made to give an intriguing insight into the reading habits of the owners of the house during these 300 years.
On 25 February, 1849, the owner of Kiplin Hall, the Fourth Earl of Tyrconnel, wrote in his diary, “Began to dress without gas light for dinner about this time”. This momentous event was becoming more commonplace, as the use of gas from private gas houses became more prevalent at country houses and large institutions around Britain. However, candlelight remained the principal method of lighting houses for many more years and fashionable homes continued to be lit by candles until the end of the 19th century. As a member of the Royal Society, the Earl was interested in the latest innovations, but he and his Countess were certainly of a fashionable persuasion and it is highly probable that they continued to use candles to light the rooms of their country house at Kiplin.
The many candles required to light such a large establishment have been supplied courtesy of Charles Farris, which was established by Farris in 1845, just 4 years prior to the Earl’s diary entry concerning gas lighting at Kiplin Hall. Charles established his candle-making enterprise in Blackfriars, London, producing church candles, principally hand-poured from beeswax. Over 150 years later, Charles Farris has moved on to modern production methods to cope with demand, but the firm is still skilled at making bespoke candles in specialised sizes and with specific burning characteristics. Charles Farris now holds a Royal warrant and supplies candles for national events in both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. These beautiful candles will revive the atmosphere of Kiplin Hall in previous centuries.
Kiplin Hall Administrator, Marcia McLuckie said: “We are very much looking forward to this event, which is a first for Kiplin Hall. To see the house lit by such beautiful candles will be a real treat; we are very grateful to Charles Farris for their gift, and proud of the prestigious association with Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s”. Marcia continued, “Picking the books is proving difficult, as we have so many to choose from, but we shall have a diverse selection of well-known and more obscure readings ready for our visitors on the evening!”.
Kiplin Hall by Candlelight and selected readings in the Library from books, 1615 – 1913, Friday 17 May, 6.30pm – 9.30pm. Admission £5 per person.
Kiplin Hall, near Scorton, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 6AT. Located between Richmond and Northallerton, off the B6271 Scorton – Northallerton road. Further information at www.kiplinhall.co.uk , email email@example.com or telephone 01748 818178.
Photo: Kiplin Hall Administrator, Marcia McLuckie, reads from an early 18th century volume of the Works of Alexander Pope. Photo by John McCormick