Cragshaw Castle, Cape Town SA

Hector Claude Sex was a Welshman from Pembroke who moved to South Africa in the early 1880s. He made a fortune, not in diamonds or gold, but in construction. Being nostalgic for Roch Castle in Wales, near where he grew up, he built this mock castle on a crag not far from the Cape of Good Hope. It is still owned by his descendants.

The castle, a tall building only some 30 by 60 feet -- note that Hector Sex was a very small man, only 5ft-2 in height -- is basically a keep, with a very small 'outer ward' in which is a four-story gatehouse where the servants (all native blacks) were quartered. There were additional outbuildings along the private road leading to the castle. To the west is a four-story wing with a basement; the prison cell was built for the amusement of his children. The main building on the east side is a rectangular hall complex, having a projecting round tower on the south and a rectangular one to the northeast. This is six stories tall with a battlemented terrace at the summit. A garderobe turret is on the north side; it has a terrace/parapet on its top. Access to the building is by a stairway cut into the rock and rising 30 feet from ground level. Over the doorway, which is protected by an iron portcullis, there is a shield with a carving of a Welsh dragon, and above it a plaque, in Welsh, describing the builder and the year of completion (1912).

The principal rooms, one atop the other, are 24 by 12 in dimension, and consist of the Servants' Hall (actually the main public room, where business was conducted), the Great Hall/Dining Room, the Solar/Drawing Room, the Long Gallery, which contains Sex's collection of African and Welsh art, and some bedrooms. The 'bedroom suite' was used as a nursery. The castellan's room was the bedroom for the butler and estate manager. The guard rooms were used as offices, and the Armory contains Zulu shields and assegais. A dog-legged main staircase rises through four floors from the entrance lobby; the 'private' spiral stair goes to the top. On the first floor of the west wing is the kitchen and associated domestic chambers. Above that are the guest room and a parlor, and at the top of this wing are a storage room and Mr. Sex's private office. There is a semi-hexagonal angle turret. Off the formal dining room there is a Snug, or smoking room, a parlor, doubling as storage for the finer cutlery, glassware, and china, and a breakfast room for more intimate meals. The library, card room, and music room on the second floor reflect the owner's primary interests apart from building.

Not counting the converted rooms (guard rooms, etc.) often used as such, there are eight bedrooms, including the owner's suite on the fifth floor. The fourth floor was at one time allocated to Mr Sex's children -- he had three daughters (two of them twins) and two sons. The daughters shared the facing bedrooms next to the nursery, and the Nannie, Mrs Turner specially imported from Milford Haven, slept in the round tower. The sons, when they grew older, moved to the bedrooms in the south part of the third floor; the bedroom in the rectangular tower housed the business secretary.

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