The Imaginary Castle Contest
What's this all about? Scroll down and find out
Castle aficionados all have their own favorites, but there is often ambiguity about that --
some offering more in the way of picturesqueness, others in historical interest, still others in fortification techniques. Well, why not design your own ideal castle project
that combines all of the aspects that you would find of interest if such a place existed?
Here are five (well, really four and a half) of my own such efforts, which I have indulged
in for over thirty years -- these are the only ones I've put on the Internet so far. Click on
any of the images to go to its own web page.
My challenge to you, if this appeals to you, is to submit your own "imaginary" castle
to this site. If there is enough interest, I'll even set up a web ring for it, and maybe even
in some cases host your web pages of your imaginary castle for free if you'll let me move it to Tripod, into my own castle site (keeping your own creditation of course).
You have to be a compulsive sort of person to do this sort of thing, but it is a lot of fun,
rather like making balsa model airplanes from scratch, or making a quilt or tapestry.
In a way, if you do it right, it combines the mental skills of architecture and historical
There are no rules to this project, apart from the fact that I am the sole judge of what
Let's just try one on the fly:
Poltruvanel Castle (Cornwall) An ancient hill fort of
the Celts in pre-Roman days that was reconstituted in the so-called dark ages around the time of King Arthur. It was supposedly the site of the Virgin Castle of the Galahad legends, where he had a bit of trouble maintaining his holiness while searching for the Holy Grail and trying to keep his virtue. Ralph of St. Malo was given this castle by William the Conqueror in 1083 and built a motte-and-bailey on the site. It never became an important fortress in a military sense, although it was the center of a large manorial estate and was noted for its fine ashlar walls and kitchen accommodations in the Tudor period. Oliver Cromwell's troops sacked and burned it, and it never recovered from that, most of its stone having been stolen over the centuries since then to repair barns, etc. There is nothing left to see now except the earthwork
embankments and the lines of the old curtains walls, at most chest-high, which now enclose farmyards.
(One side of the farmhouse includes a truncated portion of the gatehouse tower, and the remains of the Celtic rath are used as a sheep pound. What is left of the kitchen range is now a popular pub, called "The Wholly Virgin," which is noted for its shepherd's pies and hard cider, brewed locally in the old castle stables.) Want to see
a ground plan? And click here for the pub.
Get the idea?
If you would like to enter this contest, which expires on the 31st
of December 1999*, please send your submission to GrobiusShortling. I said there were no rules, but I meant you should preferably submit a web page, not just e-mail text or a word document.Of course, if the latter is any good I will go to the trouble of converting it to HTML, but for the most part don't send me off-the-cuff e-mail with lots of misspellings, etc. Please....
"Virtual Castles" are acceptable, by the way, and I have entered some without permission (though I will e-mail the authors).
* July 2001: There were no winners in this contest, so it will remain open for as long as this website exists. Just send submissions, please! Don't be ashamed if you think it's crappy -- just as long as it's a castle.
July 2004: Is imagination dead? Hardly any submissions have been received, although the web page has been viewed a few times. As a spur, have a look at this sample entry by Arthur Poggis: My Ideal Castle, or see a miscellaneous collection of my own 'dream' towers.
Contact the Judge by E-mail
Here are the contestants
- Marshmount Castle -- The first and best of the Grobius Shortling imaginary castles.
- Odin's Castle -- the ultimate Imaginary
Castle, although not strictly in the category of the contest
- Caer Afanc -- A web site
arranged as a 'virtual castle' (this isn't in the contest category either, but that's why
the rules were expanded to include this type of thing)
- Aspidistra Castle, Denver
CO -- Pauline Ponsonby, a close friend of Molly "Unsinkable" Brown, and the rich widow of a silver miner, built this dream house, not far from the notorious Columbine High School (but it was all open country then)
- Fisher's Roost -- A tiny
(really tiny) tower house on a lake in the Catskill Mountains of Sullivan County NY
- Bifurk Gate, Fenton-on-the-Marsh -- An unusual double gate tower shared by castle and town, now a miniature wax museum
- Gwernogle Castle, Wales -- a.k.a. CASTELL NANT-Y-GOF BWLCH
- Poltruvanel (also see above)
- Upper Nutsthorpe
Castle -- Near Stoke-on-Trent, not a place people visit much (except pottery fans), but quite interesting for its Victorian steeple
- The Ancient Town of Gloveburgh -- Old Saxon town, with town walls and castle, in North Yorkshire
- The Witches' Academy, Farnish -- After Hogwart's, the
most famous academic institution for witches in Britain
- Lumpkin Castle, Tarreytown, New York -- One of the
famous Hudson River 'baronial castles'
- Birdlip Castle, Cotswolds -- Another Robber Baron's Castle
- Goblin Hall, Cumberland -- A bibliophile's home near Cockermouth
- FitzFirbolg Castle, County Cork -- An ancient Norman fortress modernized by a German entrepreneur
- Petit Bastille, Cumbria -- An old Borders 'bastle house' renovated as a country retreat
- Anonkrankie Castle, Nova Scotia -- An Victorian erection now part of a golf country club
- Lesser Iveagh Castle, Caithness -- A Seventeenth Century Scottish Castle on the North Sea
- Thornhaven Castle -- A 17th Century Gothic 'folly' near Hereford
- Tregarnet Hall -- A late 19th-Century Jacobean manor near Falmouth in Cornwall
- Blaumannbourg Castle, Netherlands -- A German Industrialist's country retreat, mid-19th-Century tower house
- Optipal House -- An eccentric mansion near Whitby in Yorkshire
- Salamandra Tower -- A rum-runner's castle in Maine
- Cragshaw Castle, Cape Town, South Africa -- Nostalgic construction by a rich expatriate Welshman
Note: If you like Imaginary Countries, with lots of castles, please visit the web site about Estalia.