Nakuru, Kenya – Nestled in the serene landscape of Nakuru, about 14 km from the city center, stands a majestic castle that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale. But behind its imposing walls lies a tragic story of love and loss that spans decades and continents.
The castle was built by Maurice Egerton, the 4th Baron Egerton of Tatton, a British aristocrat who came to Kenya in 1927 to pursue his passion for aviation and photography. He bought a large piece of land near Nakuru and established an agricultural estate and an airstrip.
But he also had another reason to stay in Kenya: he had fallen in love with a beautiful Kenyan woman, whose name remains unknown. He courted her for years, hoping to make her his wife. He even built a second house with four bedrooms for her, after she rejected his first house as too small and simple.
However, his efforts were in vain. The woman turned down his marriage proposal again, saying that the house was not befitting of her taste and standard. She reportedly called it a “chicken coop” and left for England.
Heartbroken and determined to win her back, Egerton decided to build a grand castle that would impress her and show his devotion. He hired an architect named Albert Brown and started the construction in 1938.
The castle was designed in a colonial style, with 52 rooms, including a dance hall with an electric organ, a dark chamber for developing photos, a wine cellar, and a rooftop terrace. It took 16 years to complete, with interruptions from the Second World War and shortages of materials.
Egerton spared no expense in furnishing the castle with imported furniture, carpets, paintings, and chandeliers. He also landscaped the grounds with expansive gardens, fountains, and statues.
He invited the woman to visit the castle in 1954, hoping that she would finally accept him. But to his dismay, she rejected him once more, saying that the castle was too big and cold for her liking. She left immediately and never returned.
Devastated and angry, Egerton made a monumental resolution: never to engage women in his life and never to marry. He banned all women from entering his home or his estate. He even stipulated in his will that the agricultural college he had founded on his land was to be a male-only institution.
He lived alone in the castle until his death in 1958 at the age of 74. He was buried in Nakuru cemetery, next to his beloved dogs.
His legacy lives on through the Egerton University, which now occupies his estate and manages the castle as a museum and a hotel. The castle was declared a national monument in 1996 and opened to the public in 2005.
The castle attracts thousands of visitors every year, who marvel at its architecture and history. It is also a popular venue for weddings, conferences, retreats, and camping.
But for some, the castle is also a reminder of the sad fate of its builder, who never found happiness in love. The story of Lord Egerton’s unrequited love is one that has captured the hearts of many who visit the castle. It is a tale of passion and determination; of hope and heartbreak; of love lost but never forgotten.
As you walk through the halls of this grand structure, you can’t help but feel moved by the depth of emotion that must have driven Egerton to build such an impressive monument to his love. And as you explore its many rooms and gardens, you can’t help but wonder what might have been if only things had turned out differently.
In many ways, Lord Egerton Castle is more than just a building; it is a testament to the power of love – both its ability to inspire great feats of creativity and its capacity to cause great pain when it goes unrequited.
So if you ever find yourself in Nakuru, be sure to pay a visit to this remarkable place. Take some time to explore its history; to appreciate its beauty; to reflect on its story. And perhaps most importantly – take some time to remember that behind every great work of art lies an even greater human story.