There’s a castle. In Kenya. Just outside of Nakuru town, to be exact. When I think of castles, I think of Europe, not Africa, but in November, I saw it with my very own eyes. It belonged to Lord Egerton, someone I had never heard of. His story encapsulates true love and heartache like I’ve never heard before.
Maurice Egerton was born the fourth Baron Egerton in Cheshire. He was a keen photographer and aviator, even calling the Wright Brothers friends! After being granted some land and buying a further 21,000 acres from his pal Lord Delamere, he found himself a resident of the luscious Kenyan farmland in the 1920’s. He established a school, currently known as Egerton University, to teach young people about agriculture and farming.
The story gets crazy circa 1938 when he met a nice young lady that he fell in love with while on leave in England. Knowing a proposal was in the future, he took the lady (whose name no one really knows) to Kenya to see her future home. Apparently the four room structure wasn’t up to her standards. She exclaimed that she would not live in that chicken coop!
In an effort to win her back, Lord Egerton set to work building a castle that resembled a scaled down version of Tatton Castle in England. Many materials were sent via ships from England. When World War II broke out, it slowed down progress as ships couldn’t deliver materials and Lord Egerton returned to England to fight in the war.
When construction was complete, I’m sure he was quite proud of his accomplishment and knew his lady friend would surely inhabit the 52 room castle that took him sixteen years to finish. Imagine his surprise when said lady friend, upon arriving in Kenya, told him that she had fallen in love with someone else.
The magnitude of his crushed heart was so severe that he never allowed a woman to enter his grounds. Signs warned females that trespassing could result in death. Can we say bitter? He ended up living a lonely life in that 52 room house ending the Egerton legacy forever.
It’s quite ironic that such a depressed, bitter soul lived out his days in that castle. On my visit, as I looked around the green grass, I saw lovers enjoying the beautiful views and kids laughing and giggling as they played in the open spaces. At least someone, other than Lord Egerton, are able to enjoy his castle now.