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 and rejected the building, terming it a 'museum'. Several decades later, it would seem as if her curse held for indeed the Lord Egerton Castle is today just that - a museum and it is probably as a museum that the castle is likely to draw large numbers of visitors than as a castle back then.
As Rang'oma recalls, the castle was built as a symbol of dedication and love. Lord Egerton was then living in a cottage built for him by his farm manager, Hugh Coltart, when his fiancee visited him from England and immediately expressed her dislike for the small humble cottage. He had first lived in a small rondavel. To show his devotion, the nobleman started work on the magnificent castle, hoping to please his fiancee. But he was devastated when she again rejected the magnificent castle - and its builder - and married another man in the UK.
Rang'oma describes Lord Egerton as a recluse and a votary of hunting and photography who avoided three living things - women, dogs and chickens. No woman, dog or chicken ever stepped in the castle grounds when Lord Egerton was alive! He however reared a few gazelles, snakes and a giant tortoise. He liked to have silence around him all the time which probably explains why he detested noisy creatures like cockerels and dogs. Lord Egerton would on some occasions wake up at 5.30 am, take his guns and run to a shooting range four kilometres away.
He would return to the castle again at a run and take a bath before breakfast. The nobleman was a stickler for rules - such as cooks wearing the right uniforms during tea time, lunch, the four o'clock tea or dinner. Only 10 servants were allowed in the castle while the others - about 40 gardeners - were required to stick to their work places and the servants' quarters.
Whenever Lord Egerton visited any of the farm workers' villages, far from the castle, he would give two weeks' notice for all women to either remain indoors or just leave the village until he had completed his tour. Chris Wanjala, a literature professor who has written extensively about the castle, says Lord Egerton, a short man who liked to wear a pilot's cap, had a passion for hunting and photography and that he made hunting expeditions in India, Africa and Canada.
Lord Egerton will be remembered by Kenyans for his generosity, donating the land on which Egerton University's Njoro campus stands. He completely insulated his African servants from the harassment that was meted on others by the colonial government during the Mau Mau war of independence.