Isle of Farnish: Farn Manor

The Farn Manor Estate looks like a castle, quacks like a castle, so it must be a castle -- but it isn't. In no way can this place withstand a siege or an armed attack, although it is rather burglarproof. The manor in its old state consisted of a huge 15th century barn, later converted into a 'great hall', two very large couryards, a late 16th tower house/pele tower, then all transformed in the 18th and 19th centuries into a grand pile -- that looks like a castle but isn't. Although it is not National-Trustworthy, this is now where the 29th Earl of Farnish and his extended family currently 'hang out' (no longer in the citadel of the castle in the town itself).

The north side of this structure, which is not really that big (about 150 by 150 feet, even if the ground plan might mislead you into thinking this looks like a palace), was the original barn for the only large estate of the eastern side of the island. This area is mostly moorland and depended on sheep and cattle, yet there is considerable acreage here for crop-growing and is the 'breadbasket' of Farnish. A tower house was built in troublous times to protect this depot, and eventually other stuff agglomerated around the precinct, depending on the ups and downs of local prosperity (and the luck of various Lord Farnishes, whether in arms dealing, smuggling commissions, or in Monte Carlo).

  1. Butterfly collection
  2. Main staircase
  3. Screens passage & stairs to gallery
  4. Games room
  5. Supply room
  6. Coal shed
  7. Buttery (Wine room)
  8. Bridge from private postern
  9. Back lobby
  10. Guest Bedroom
  11. West corridor
  12. Guest Bedroom
  13. East corridor
  14. Outer Court postern
  15. Anteroom
  16. Estate Office
  17. Waiting Room
  18. Office & cellar/east-wing stairs
  19. Gate passage
  20. Cloak room
  21. Porter's lodge
  22. Scullery
  23. Keep staircase turret
  24. Priest's Room

This is the impressive ground plan. The moat, which involved damming up a stream and building a walled ditch, was done in the 1870s when the barn was reconstructed as a Great Hall and the circular towers and parapet walls were constructed on three sides. Lord Farnish the 25th had made a fortune supporting the Union side in the American Civil War. "Battles are waged in mud and squalor which I can profit by to establish a secure and solid place to continue this appalling way to make money." (He was the most successful Earl of Farnish in history and is the inventor of the portable piss-catheter device that in later developments became the astronaut solution to the raindrops-keep-falling-on-my-head problem, also for people stuck in trenches or trains/planes where the loos don't work or the queues are too long.)

  1. Beetle Collection
  2. Minstrels Gallery and Screaming Balcony
  3. Master's (tutor, maestro, whatever) conservatory
  4. Bedroom
  5. Storeroom
  6. Art Gallery
  7. Corridor
  8. Bedroom
  9. Bedroom
  10. Corridor
  11. Servants' wing hallway
  12. Oriel

One hundred years earlier the 7th Earl had expanded the tower house. (There was an extraordinary run of bad luck for this family, in that they went from 7th Earl to 25th in such a short period as a century -- family tree looks like a jigsaw puzzle, although there was a long-lived great-uncle with ambition, Uncle Harvey, who never really got the title, but whom everybody thought was a bit strange and unsavory -- yet who can say now?). What he did was to box the courtyard, add a gatehouse, the west-side garden wing designed by Can-do Brown, Capability's brother, and the servants' wing.

  1. Accessories
  2. Art Gallery
  3. Bedroom
  4. Corridor
  5. Bedroom
  6. Balcony
  7. Steward's office
  8. Archives
  9. Watch room and machicolated gallery
  10. Guard Room

There was a major remodeling of the 'castle' just before the outbreak of World War One. It was all fixed up with modern plumbing and (partial) central heating, the servants' quarters were improved and expanded -- little did they know then that after WWI there would be no servants in the old sense. The redesign also made the place look like a real castle, which of course it isn't. Milord then the twenty-somthingth, who was a tropical botanist, had the top of the tower house/keep redone, a greenhouse added on the roof, parked his butterfly and beetle collections in the northwest tower, and pretty much withdrew into a vegetative state until he was murdered, his head cut off with a hacksaw blade and planted in a clay flower pot -- a case that has never been solved by Scotland Yard, even by William Blackstone Wildman.

    The top floor of the gatehouse was designed as a dormitory for the garrison, but it was converted into a children's playroom several generations ago; there is also a large terrace behind it -- for private sunbathing, etc. This storey of the keep is the lord of the manor's living suite. Above it (not shown on this web page) is the roof-level conservatory and observatory.

The current Lord Farnish (Lucas, aged 26) is, unfortunately, a bit 'distracted' and has a permanent attendant whose duty is to bop him in the face with a balloon on a stick to remind him that it is time to eat. He is actually a genius according to professionals using testing methods that do not involve concentration or reading abiliity. His present plan is to convert the manor into a space ship and travel to Blenkinsop in Beta Pisces.

The garden court contains a hedge maze, not something Brown wanted to make, but insisted on by the dubious Uncle Harvey, who professed himself as a student of the black arts. There are nasty statues in the 'dead-end' lanes and also man-trap pits and other hazards (which have been disabled in modern times -- orange spots on plan?). This venue features in one of the Farnish Witch Academy trials for senior students -- and, nobody knows for sure, the traps are re-activated for that. This folly was called the American flag because of its pattern (not colors), and contains five 'temples', including the center one, and a 'mini-maze' building, upper left corner, built of cedar planks, containing a bizarre collection of African and American Indian icons

The "WC" building (who knows why Harvey built such a thing unless he was providing for witch coven occasions) contains a caretaker's room over it. The Black Tower also seems to have no function though it might have been built as a flanking tower to the garden ward. This is not a "true" maze, since it has many short cuts, but it is definitely an eerie place, especially considering all the weird sculptures interspersed throughout. There are four 'escapes' on the right side, but only one lacks a supposed trap; one can also exit via the WC tower. The whole pattern supposedly represents four letters in a monogram arrangement according to an old diary entry -- nobody has figured out what they are, although Grobius rather thinks that the whole pattern is a precursor of a microchip. Who knows?

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