Burwash Hidden Gardens 2020

Village gardens in the beautiful Sussex Weald

Mandalay

Mandalay2

I'm an assistant county organiser for the NGS and my wife and I open Mandalay as part of the Burwash group. We often get asked about the name. The house has been known by different names over time. We understand it was renamed Mandalay in the mid-1990s.

 

There is no connection with Kipling himself but there is one with Batemans - the home of Rudyard Kipling between 1902 and 1936. In 1878 the miller at Park Mill (now in the grounds of Batemans) one Francis Russell died, and his three unmarried daughters sold the mill and relocated to the village. Census records show that the three moved to the cottage now known as Mandalay. They lived there for their remaining years with the last daughter Ellen passing away in 1922.

 

Kipling lost his only son John in World War I, and campaigned relentlessly to ensure that the sacrifice of British and Commonwealth soldiers would never be forgotten. He was tasked as literary advisor to recommend inscriptions for the memorials established by what is now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 

His poem "Mandalay" written in 1890 and set in Burma (then part of British India) recalls the feelings and memories of a working-class soldier serving in the third Anglo-Burmese war.

It also became the basis of the famous music hall song. I love the work and as webmaster I can indulge myself! See and hear Charles Dance's rendition of the poem at the 70th anniversary of VJ Day in 2015 on the YouTube video (right).