Posted in travel

Love gone sour

Once upon a time,

In England there lived a rich family at the Tatton Park Cheshire who descended from the Royal Tatton Lineage. They were the epitome of royalty and class. Alan de Tatton and Lady Anna Louisa Taylor gave birth to three children namely William (1868), Cecile (1871) and Maurice (1874). However, William and Cecil died leaving Maurice as the sole heir to their father’s wealth. William went to school in Briton and later to the British Royal Navy. He was an avid traveler who loved hunting, photography, aviation and film making.

At the age of 36 after his father’s death in 1920, he became his successor as the 4th Baron of Egerton. At 45 years, he inherited the title Lord. His travelling escapades brought him to Africa and finally to Kenya. He was among the first white settlers to conquer Kenyan highlands during the British colonial rule. The haves continued having it at the expense of the haves not when the British government offered ex-military personnel land as token of appreciation.

Lord Egerton was given 44km (21,000ha) of land in Nakuru-Njoro region. Like it is written by motivational speakers that ‘your network is your worth,’ Lord Egerton and Lord Delamare became best of friends where even Delamere ooops excuse me my lordship, Lord Delamare, inspired him to do agriculture. The backbone of the economy back then. (Still is but has received its fair share of disappointments by the government)

In order to multiply and fill the earth to heirs, Lord Maurice had to marry from a royal family, you know, to keep the riches within the families. No. Too much movies. Traditions demanded. He fell in love with an Australian princess whose ancestry descended from Queen Elizabeth. At the time, Lord Egerton lived in a thatch like 6 bedroomed abode. She was not impressed and claimed the house resembled a chicken coop.

Hurt by the mean words, he decided to prove his worth in 1938. For his sanity, he decided to build a 4-storey, 52 room mansion with the help of an English architect Albert Brown, troop of Italian masons and 100 Indian handy men. He invited the beautiful princess again who added salt to injury by saying it looked like a dogs kennel. Dogs, chicken and women (who by the way were threatened to be shot down on sight) were not allowed anywhere near the castle. The castle’s construction was completed in 1954. A happily ever after seemed not to happen and that is how we were denied a glamorous wedding.

The castle stands tall at Ngata farm en route to Njoro town. The bumpy murram road that takes around 15minutes welcomes one to vast green lands with beautiful hills. A green gate welcomes one to the famous castle without a prince. The first gate is where visitors sign in then proceeds to a long manicured driveway that has a wide range of trees providing a scenic fresh ambience. Feels like heaven! The second gate is where entry fees are paid, Ksh 250 for adults.
The beautiful garden outside is ideal for wedding ceremonies, team building activities, picnics dates and so much more magic that can happen.

The first floor opens to a ball room where entertainment happened. A piano made with 411 pipes and a cabinet with vintage accessories like an old telephone fill up the empty hallway. Picture frames of the family beautify the walls that were paneled with British oak. However, short people like me can barely read the small inscriptions. The fireplace made up of sparkly green marbles from Italy gives a warm welcome. The doors are marked but how I wish they tell a story. The Lord’s room, number 20 is closed. A safe hidden between barricades pops up. The basement leads to a safe where food was stored while upstairs leads to more bedrooms, bathrooms, photo rooms, laundry room before approaching balconies lined with polished curved stones. From here one can tell of the imported zinc tiles that decorate the roof as robust pipes are piped down to various houses.

It is said the rocks used in building the house were purchased from abroad and interior tiles from China. Local materials were only Kinoo and stones from Njiru. The servant houses are spread across the land with a parking area that could hold up to 3 vehicles. At the top of the castle stands three flag posts. Other things that stand out are ancient communication technologies and old farming machinery.

For four years Lord Egerton lived a lonely, quiet life till his demise in 1958. Luckily, he birthed Egerton University which now owns the castle as a tourist attraction.