Judd Castle on the River Lin, Almondsey

This fortress, in the Dark Ages fortified by the natives, provided with a keep by the Estalians, then expanded into a castle by the Almondese after the conquest, is the primary citadel for the city of Kajudder, which is about two miles to its north. It occupies a ridge in the Poggit Hills overlooking the River Lin to the west and the Great Marsh to the south. As the ridge plunges 300 feet nearly vertically into the river and the approaches from north and south are only by very narrow ridgeways (the first of which is cut by the River Ka valley a quarter mile to the north, the second dropping into the marsh one mile to the south), the castle's defenses are primarily on the east side where the lower ward is located; this is protected by a large gatehouse and a tall round tower. The upper ward was provided with gun batteries covering the northern and southern aretes in the late 17th Century.

Plans of the Castle

The lower ward is on a ledge on the east side of a limestone ridge; a crumbling granite scree slopes down into a densely wooded area along its outer side. There is a gravelled road leading north to the Ka Valley and the city of Kajudder. The entry is protected by a drawbridge, portcullis, and a two-tiered gun-looped wall passage. The soldiers' garrison occupies a three-storied building in the northern part of the lower ward. Officers are quartered in the three-storied gatehouse, and at the southeast corner is a four-storied D-shaped tower that is the residence of the castellan, whose title is Sheriff of Poggit with administrative, martial, and judicial duties for the whole area south of Kajudder. (He has an office/courtroom in the tower, and there is a small prison in the garrison quarters.) Between the gatehouse and the constable's tower is another two-tiered passage with gun loops; atop both of these walls is a wide parapet, and the southern outer wall (less exposed to attack) has one internal passage, a parapet, and a bartizan turret. Note also that the gatehouse and tower are also provided with defensive wall-walks. Entry to the upper ward is via two stairways, partially tunnelled into the rock, one leading up from the garrison quarters, the other from the south side of the kitchen/great hall building. The castle well is in the courtyard; there is a balcony leading from the kitchen that has a winch and bucket arrangement for drawing water, although for the most part the fortress depended on water from cisterns, as it rains a lot in this area.

The northern and southern sides of the upper ward are protected by rock-cut ditches and batteries for cannons (built in the late 17th Century); these cover the flanking narrow ridges that extend along the River Lin on these sides of the castle. The northern battery is particularly elaborate in that it also covers the main approach to the gatehouse, with a watch tower atop which is a redoubt for riflemen and a four-storied tower that housed the gunnery squad. There is another riflemen's parapet on the north side of the garrison building. Note also the upper-ward courtyard above the garrison quarters in the lower ward and the sunken dry ditch around the keep that provides access by tunnel to the cannon battery. Otherwise, the fortification of the upper ward is rather minimal because of its inaccessibility, consisting only of a low curtain wall with a parapet and two small guard towers. The two tunnel entrances are protected only by strong doors with draw-bars. The Great Hall structure has three stories -- a cellar, a kitchen, and the great hall itself (which rises the height of two stories, with a minstrels' gallery and a large oriel window). A two-storied wing adjoining the great hall houses servants. The keep was built around 1450 by the Estalians, who at one time ruled this area. It has a walled dry ditch on the east and south sides and is entered via a short drawbridge. The basement consists of two vaulted cellars; the entry floor contains the servants' hall and a kitchen. The second floor is the Great Hall of the Keep, a very fine, irregularly shaped room with oak panelling. Observe that this tower was self-contained to provide separate accommodation for the lord of the castle. Almondese changes involved building the round turret facing south and the spiral staircase opening from the entrance (the northern newel stair was original).

Upper stories shown on the plan are: (a) the top of the Gunners Tower (an observation post doubling as a dormitory, and a short parapet with a bartizan turret), (b) the Solar, or lord's privy chamber, on the third floor of the Keep, (c) the lord's private bedroom, and (d) the garret or servants' quarters. The Almondese alterations added the garrett floor and top arrangement of the keep, including the round bartizans and the caphouse (reached via a trapdoor).

* Click here for a look at a plan of the city of Kajudder, one of the three showcase cities of north central Almondsey.
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