Today’s Object of the Week has a distinctly wintry theme as we visit North Yorkshire. Sarah Mayhew Craddock, curator at Kiplin Hall & Gardens, explores the history of an 18th century piece of sporting equipment which would only have been used in freezing cold weather.

AS the nights draw in and the sun hangs low in the sky it can be difficult to keep warm in a Jacobean country house that is nearly over 400 years old.

As I type this, sat at my desk at Kiplin Hall between Northallerton and Richmond, my mind turns to how characters from Kiplin’s past might have kept warm during these colder months.

Originally built in the 1620s as a hunting lodge by George Calvert the Ist Baron of Baltimore and founder of Maryland in the United States of America, Kiplin Hall has a rich history of sport, entertainment, and general merriment.

With all of the rainfall that we’ve experienced recently a damp slither of ground has shown its head, rising from the lawn that separates Kiplin Hall from the stunning lake to the west of the house.

This slither serves as a reminder of Kiplin’s past as its shape echoes Kiplin’s historic serpentine lake.

The serpentine lake was installed in the 18th century, and was used for boating, fishing, sailing toy boats and general japes.

Created by damming a beck, the serpentine lake was relatively shallow, and would therefore have frozen over quite quickly during a cold snap, making it perfect for a game of curling.

And so, as the first frost begins to nip, my mind turns to the curious objects currently on display in the Dining Room, and the fun, excitement, triumphs and losses that they must have experienced in a previous life before Kiplin Hall & Gardens became an historic house museum.

One of the curling stones in Kiplin’s collection has an inscription under the handle that reads 'Presented to Capt. the Honourable W C Carpenter R.N. by the Kiplin Curling Club Feby 17th 1880'.

Walter Carpenter inherited Kiplin in 1868 and owned the estate until his death in 1904. Newspaper cuttings detailing the club matches from the time list many local names that appear in parish magazines and census returns.

Indeed, some of the surnames marry with those of local people that live on land adjoining what remains of the Kiplin estate today - about 5,000 acres then, 150 acres now - I wonder if an appetite and aptitude for curling lives on amongst these locals!

Kiplin Hall & Gardens is now closed for the winter. It will reopen in February next year, visit for more details