In the early 20th century, Rudyard Kipling was one of Britain’s most prolific writers. He wrote short stories, poems and novels that continue to touch millions. His writing has provided the inspiration for Hollywood films – from the Disney classic Jungle Book to Sean Connery and Michael Caine’s The Man Who Would Be King. Kipling’s poem If is a regular favourite on any poetry list.

Rudyard Kipling was born in India in 1865. Following a short career as a journalist in India, he returned to England in 1889 as an established writer. He lived in the United States for five years after marrying his American wife Carrie in 1892. The Kiplings relocated to Rottingdean in Sussex in 1897. Their home quickly became a tourist attraction and, tired of the public attention he was getting, Kipling sought a new home in a more remote part of Sussex.

In 1902 the Kiplings made their final move to Bateman’s – a 17th Century former ironmaster’s house close to Burwash. The author – who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 –  lived in this Jacobean house until he died in 1936. His widow Carrie bequeathed Bateman’s to The National Trust following her death in 1939. The tragic loss of their son, John, who died in 1915 at the Battle of Loos, is commemorated by a plaque in St Bartholomew’s Church, Burwash, and on the war memorial in Burwash High Street.

Bateman’s, the gardens, water mill and the countryside surrounding much of the River Dudwell are all well worth visiting.

For more information on Bateman’s, go to the National Trust website.