Lord Egerton Castle
Colonial settler Lord Maurice Egerton fourth Baron of Tatton, born in 1874 and died on January 30 1958. He was the last son of Alan de Tatton (1845 – 1920) the third Baron Egerton of Tatton and Lady Anna Louisia Taylor a keen photographer and gardener. His two siblings William and Cecil Egerton had died while young.
Lord Egerton, fourth baron of Tatton first came to Kenya in the 1920s. He started living in Kenya in 19 27 in a six bedroomed house next to the castle. A keen hunter and photographer, he was enchanted by the country and bought 1,900 acres of farmland near his close friend Lord Delamere.
While on long leave in England, he fell in love with an eligible young lady who would not consider marrying him, as she had been brought up to live in a castle, not a mud hut. Lord Egerton returned to Kenya and built a 52 room castle near Njoro, modeled on the family mansion in Knustford.
It took him 16 years to create such a perfect home for his bride to be. By the time it was finished his lady friend had fallen in love with someone else. Lord Egerton had started building the 52 roomed castle in 1938 finishing it in 1954.
The Lord Egerton Castle
The Lord Egerton castle is located in Ngata, 14 Kilometers from Nakuru town towards Eldoret. It is managed by Egerton University. Tourists and locals are charged a fee to visit.
It was built by an engineer Called Albert Baron from Rome to oversee the construction of the castle. About 100 Indian workers formed part of the technical labour team. Locals were employed to do manual labour.
Most of the rocks used for the construction were imported while others were fetched from Kedowa and Njiru.
The marble and tiles used to decorate the interior were imported from Italy and England.
It was complete with oak paneling – the oak imported from England – and a magnificient ballroom.
Lord Egerton hate for Women Chicken and Dogs
As the construction work neared completion, in 1954, he invited his fiancee from England to live with him. Onyiego remembers the woman drove into the compound but did not stay for two hours before driving away. Robert Onyiego is a former employee of Lord Egerton. By the time I visited the castle, he still took care of the castle which is owned by Egerton University.
The woman refused to live with Lord Egerton and went back to England where she got married to another man. Said Robert. Since then, Lord Egerton led a quiet private and lonely life. He had few visitors, he lived alone, he ate alone, played the piano to himself and slept alone in this large castle. You could tell which side of the castle he was in by listening to his steps. Explained Onyiego. He also kept swearing and vowed never to love again, let alone love another woman. He also did everything possible not to set his eyes on women,”
He hang notices on a tree warning that any women trespassing the grounds risked being shot. Men visiting the baron were asked to leave their women eight kilometers away. On completion, he employed 16 servants, all male and rarely entertained visitors though the castle had many guest rooms. He banned his male workers from ever bringing their wives to the servant quarters or keeping chicken and dogs. He lived in it for four years before passing away.
He hated chicken and dogs and did not keep them in his compound though he ate chicken meat and eggs. This is because the woman who spurned his proposal said the six bed roomed house the Lord lived in – before completion of the castle was small as a chicken coop, bird nest or a dog kennel. Lord Egerton shunned and hated women all his life, after a woman, for whom he built a monumental castle at Njoro turned his proposal for marriage down. He banned women from ever setting foot in the 100 acre ground in which the castle stood spent the rest of his life alone.
Lord Egerton then threw his energies into farming. He set up Egerton Agricultural College on 1200 acres of land near Delameres plant breeding station, now part of Egerton University. His entire family fortune was sunk into developing Kenya’s agriculture. He died on January 30 1958 leaving no heir. Dying childless, Lord Egertons loner lifestyle ended his family lineage because he did not leave an heir to carry on his family name. The castle is a shadow of its former glory but it’s open to the public.
Irony today glares back at the loner’s legacy. The house that failed to win love for the fourth baron Egerton of Tatton, Cheshire, has become a favorite attraction for lovers tying the knot. The place where No women were allowed, hundreds of women walk here freely unbeknown to them that several years ago, they would be risking being shot by being there. The legacy that spent a big fortune today is torn to pieces. Its expansive green lawns and three-cloistered fringes of the gardens where he ones walked alone, sulking in rejection, are most sought after for garden weddings and other outdoor events.
Where the reclusive baron pinned notices on trees warning that the grounds were out of bounds for any woman, lovers now hold hands and walk down open air aisles, declaring the vows of their union.
On weekends the university rents out the Egerton castle grounds to as many as four wedding parties. Men visiting the baron were asked to leave their women eight kilometers away.
The castle was open to the public in 2005 and apart from attracting tourists and history lovers; it is also used for corporate functions such as office parties, cocktails and picnics. Egerton University used to allow weddings to take place for free at the castle grounds until 2007 when they started charging a fee. Egerton university derives its name from this great passionate man. I find him strange yet principled. Well a few ladies have let men down severally and they have not been able to keep such a legacy. Some have committed suicide and others have redirected their anger on the ladies killing them or hurting them badly. The recent case is of the certain guy who shot his fiancee and shot himself. All in all he is a great man.