Almondsey


Castles of the Western Sector of Estalia


Tenor Tower, Harrum Forest


A smallish tower-house in the southwest part of Harrum Forest, Tenor was built for the Earl of Harrum in the late 17th Century and considerably modernized in the 1860's. When the family became reclusive, this, and Harrum-in-the-woods, became the principal residences of the earl and his family. The castle is self-contained -- no courtyard or barmkin wall, although there are some outbuildings (stables, kennel, barn, etc.). It is an L-shaped tower, consisting of the older simple square building with a wing built some fifty years later. After the modernization, the great hall became the dining room, the solar the drawing room, and many bedrooms and lavatories were inserted. There is, however, provision for a garrison and a bevy of servants. Most notable feature is the Long Gallery at the top of the older tower; this contains many of the family's large collection of firearms and hunting pictures, and it also doubles as an indoor archery range. There is an older entrance, now a postern with a porter's lodge, on the west side, but the main entry is from a flagstoned terrace into an anteroom with access to the main stair. Note that there is a secret room (a 'priest's hole') accessed by trapdoor from behind the garrison hall fireplace; this was built for the Earl's security in times of danger from the outlaws of Harrum Forest, but luckily was never put to use (except by the Earl's children).


Harrum-in-the-Woods Castle


While not taking much part in public life, the Earls of Harrum have traditionally been great breeders of race horses. There are extensive paddocks and horse-related outbuildings around the site, cleared from the forest, and well-protected by hardened keepers. To the south of Harrum Castle is a racetrack -- the only one of two in all of Estalia. The horse races there are famous throughout the country, especially since they are so rare, and not approved of by the establishment. Yiggle is the main town that supports this enterprise when it is in season. The castle itself, primary residence for the family, is rather small, based on a traditional tower-house/keep. It is, however, a very well-maintained and attractive building with at least semi-modern amenities. There is a small river gorge to the east, but otherwise the castle is poorly defended (except provision for a rather large garrison of soldiers and grooms). The tower-house itself is a noble building and has an unusual adjunct in the very tall and narrow tower at the inner end of the gate passage next to the loggia; there is a bell room near the top, and above that a watch room (both reached by ladder) that rises well above the forest trees and affords a view to the racetrack.



The basic plan is pretty much a rectangle, with stable and servant buildings to the north rising in height to the main quarters to the south. An unusual feature is the bath-house/sauna, almost unique for this area. The eastern segment over the garrison quarters and guardrooms contains the billiard room, library, and general bedrooms, whereas all the private rooms, excluding the Great Hall from that category, are in the keep. The Great Hall is a very fine two-storied vaulted room with a wide minstrels' gallery, and the Solar above it is beautifully panelled in oak. On the upper floors of the tower-house is a warren of rooms just called 'family'. Note the complicated interconnection of floor levels -- this was for security reasons (there is also, unfortunately, a dismal prison chamber accessed from the guardroom above the porter's lodge).


Stike Castle, Krumshire


Stike Castle

At the end of a spur of the Lignapp Hills, on the road between Sagacity and the port of Sloe where it crosses the road between Hagg-Nookh and Phlibocx, there is this small strategically located castle, which serves as a staging post as much as anything else. (There is an inn and livery stable nearby.) It is the official home of the 'agricultural minister' of the county, who is called 'Lord' but actually isn't much more than a bailiff, and it was was built around 1690. There is very little to say about it except that it has been maintained in pristine condition for all that time. It consists of a small tower house, a square barmkin with round towers catercornered, and an L-shaped great hall and service wing. The inn -- "Argolian Eyes" -- is probably the most pleasant place in Krum.


Frick and Frack Castles


Frick and Frack Castles

Officially Arsolbocx and Orilombocx Castles, they were nicknamed Frick and Frack by Baron Hadrian Handsaw, who had been educated in England. These two buildings are tower houses of a similar and simple oblong plan, with minor outbuildings enclosed in a barmkin, and were built in the 1720s. They are located very close to each other on opposite banks of the north branch of the River Sloe, on the border between the counties of Pagota and Krum, commanding the road between Tiptow and Sagasity. Apart from being well-made, there is nothing outstanding or interesting about their architecture, so we will limit ourselves to the famous legend about the cousins.

Arsol and Orilom were nephews of the Earl of Pagota, who had no other male heirs (this was before the revolution in Krum that overthrew the aristocracy -- in that time, both counties were controlled by the Earl).They were great rivals and hating each other were also very similar in character, although Orilom was so despised that he was later overthrown when he inherited Krum. Their patrimonial estates were on Sloe River near Hagg-Nookh, within spitting distance of each other. Arsol hired Hiram Bvarceloni'Var from Sagasity to build up his manor as a castle (Var was a well-known architect who had designed many of the tower houses of that city); when it was complete, Orilam was so furious that he hired Var himself to build a rival castle -- much profit and reputation to Var and his construction company. The rivalry continued for many years, with sponsored raids by gamekeeper gangs on each other's properties, the wooing of Lord Harrum's daughter, who rejected them both, attempts to cut the market for the respective products of their estates, and a refusal of both of them to attend the Earl's funeral so as not to have to meet. Arsol drowned soon after inheriting Pagota, reportedly on a commando expedition to blow up his cousin's castle. The county was then given to his brother-in-law Parron Holibritto'nTol of Tiptow. Orilam was exiled after a revolution and moved to Norway, his estates being inherited by his daughter, who married the Moderator of Sagasity (the revolutionary leader). But after all this time, folk tales about this rivalry are a flourishing sub-culture in the region.


Poggle Tower (Fort Poggle), Krumshire


This fort at the mouth of the River Phli was built in the mid-18th Century, incorporating an older tower house built a century earlier. The nearby small village of Poggle is the main fishing town of the county and also a 'seaport' for the export of agricultural products, but it is a very small place of little importance except locally. The main feature, apart from the rather fine tower house, is the three-gun battery. This fort is still garrisoned (but only 8-12 men, a sergeant, and a captain).


Musmid Tower, Krumshire


An early 17th-Century tower house at a fork in the River Ramat protects the downstream entry into Sag Vale. It is a simple small square four-story tower with a barmkin (whose buildings are badly ruinous). In 1780, a band of rebels supported by a pro-Almondsey faction sailed up the river and bombarded the castle, bringing down one corner of the tower; it has not been inhabited since then and has gradually fallen into ruin. There are artillery redoubts farther up the vale that were built afterwards to defend Sagasity.


The Podgar Towers, Krumshire


These small squat three-story towers were built in various places in Krumshire (there were ten of them originally, although four have been abandoned) by the Sagasity Syndicate in the late 18th Century. They are rather primitive, housing a small garrison of 4-6 men normally, but strategically located to protect the county. Note that four of them are on the Pagota border, since these two counties in the same province have not always gotten along together; Pagota itself did not bother to reciprocate, as they have a very effective cavalry. The towers have extremely thick walls and only three principal rooms -- cellar, kitchen/mess hall, and the main hall chamber -- with two sleeping cubicles, a covered gallery also used for extra accommodation in time of alert, and a bathroom (luxury for this sort of place). Each has a well in the vaulted cellar; also a wide parapet walk holding small cannons. Entry is only by a wooden staircase to the second story. Their function was very similar to the Martello towers being built in England a few years later, and were actually far more effective than larger castles for dealing with minor incursions from Almondsey. Of course they could not withstand major attack with siege artillery, but never had to face it. For the most part, they served as refuges for the local satraps and priests in the face of raids or civil disturbance. They are actually quite snug and self-contained, and most have been incorporated into farm complexes. A similar, but earlier, series of towers, called Ragouts are along the Almondsey border and not covered on this web page.


Estalia