Almondsey


Fangist Hall, Estalia

The Handsaw family were the hereditary stewards of the Earls of Harrum for many generations before being ennobled as Barons in the early 16th Century when the Harrums retired to their strongholds in the forest (Harrum-in-the-Woods and Tenor Tower). Their castle started out as a small tower-house with a round tower (southwest corner of the current building), then accreted over two and a half centuries until the culminating reconstruction in the 1870's. At some stage, the famous ale brewed in the castle became popular and a large brewery was built in the town of Fangist. It is now the biggest brewery in Estalia: The Handsaw-Fangist Brewing Company. To the east of the home farm, fields of barley and hops belonging to the family stretch along the narrow strip south of Harrum Forest almost all the way to Yiggle, with at least five distinct farmyards. Hadrian Handsaw, Seventh Baron, who was responsible for expanding the family business and fortune, had been sent to Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, in England, where he met and became good friends with Guichardo Marshmount. It was the latter who encouraged Sir Hadrian to modernize the castle and to take up the Estalian version of the life of an English gentleman.


Description: Ground Floor. This is not a big manor house (although it might look like that from the plan), being only 120 feet wide along the south side. The courtyard is bounded on the west by gardens -- kitchen, for vegetables, and a small greenhouse for hothouse plants, and a formal garden with flower beds and a gazebo --, on the north by a gatehouse and brewery, on the east by the bakehouse, servants' wing, and other accommodation, and on the south by the main building, which has a flagstoned terrace in front of it. Note that the guest housing is separated from the tower-house by the garrison hall -- at times, the Estalians were very paranoid. The southern range is an L-shaped building with towers at either end. Guards' quarters and the staff dining room are on the east side, with cellars and the kitchen to the west. The round tower contains a well (another well is in the courtyard between the brewhouse and the bakehouse). There are two main staircases in turrets facing the courtyard. This manor house is not heavily fortified, but it does have a narrow stone-lined moat (with fish) and battered plinth to east and south, the embattlemented southern side, and the gatehouse. To the north is the stable yard, which also contains a barn.


Description: First Floor. When the original castle was remodelled in the 19th Century, the old Great Hall was subdivided and converted into the drawing room and a snug parlor that has a corbelled-out oriel window; the Solar became the dining room, with a wine store, an alcove for the silver, and a servery. A private room in the round tower became the morning or breakfast room with an adjoining room for storing china. The library in the east tower is vaulted as protection against fire -- it contains some very rare old books and has an attached reading carrel in a small round turret. The tower wing contains the nursery for the children but also, oddly enough, the billiard room and a bar for his Lordship. Servants lived in the northern part of the building over the bakehouse and grain cellar (inconveniently, they had no direct access to the main rooms except via the courtyard entrances, but security was always a problem in Estalia). A very tough set of guards occupied the gatehouse, which has a watch room and battlemented terraces on the floor over this; there is another protective terrace on the west side with a roundel overlooking the ravine.



Description: Second Floor. The east tower contains the finely decorated chapel. There are family bedrooms north of this. The west tower is his Lordship's private quarters, including a large bedroom suite on this floor, with a bedchamber in the round tower, a bathroom, and a couple of closets. Drawbar-protected doors insure security, several of the Barons having been assassinated in the past. A mural stair leads up to the study and privy chambers on the next floor. The main stairway also ends at this level -- access to the next floor being by a smaller spiral stair. A glorious feature of the house is the Long Gallery with its lofty oaken angel-beam roof and collection of classic paintings and sculptures. Its walls are plastered and painted sky blue (for no apparent reason, but it is effective).

A simplified plan of the estate is shown here as an inset. To the north is Harrum Forest, in which the Barons indulged in their favorite sport, boar-hunting, to the west the ravine of the Harburn, to the south the port of Fangis, and to the east the Home Farm and a very small village for estate workers and dependents (and a pub, of course -- The Wolven Way).



Top Floor and South Elevation. The top of the 'keep' tower contains the Baron's study and other private rooms, and the eastern tower contains four more bedrooms and is battlemented at the top. All three round towers have conical roofs.

The Town of Fangist. A very small port, not a fishing town (only two or three boats), but the main outlet for Handsaw-Fangist beer, which is shipped all over Estalia. As to be expected, the major part of the village is taken up by the brewery. Also, there are no less than five pubs. There are hardly more than a dozen houses, although there are 'suburbs' along the Tiptow and Plahsh roads, making this the largest town in Harrum, and its 'capital'. There is a temple of Thud/Lott, of course, and an administration castle (see below).




Fangist Castle. This is the administration building for the county of Harrum. Not strictly a 'castle' -- more like a stone 'hall-house' -- it nevertheless serves as the primary government center of the county. The Great Hall functions as a courthouse, wedding and funeral hall, and banquet room. There is also the police station and a prison, with the religious Inquisitorial chambers above, and the usual bureaucratical offices (marriage licences, fines, etc.). The Earl's quarters and Judge's Chamber in the western tower is supposedly available for Earl Harrum, but in fact is used by the Magistrate of Fangist, the leading politician of the area. It is well-known that the normal Inquisitorial appointee is very tolerant about offenses related to drinking and horse-racing -- just as long as one goes to Temple on proper occasions and does not take the names of Thud and Lott in vain (but of course, no Christians or Muslims are tolerated in the area).


Estalia