Built in The Name of Love: Kellie’s Castle


Located in Perak, Malaysia, Kellie’s Castle has a tragic love story just as the Taj Mahal represented the undying love of a King to his beloved wife. Dated back to 1890, where William Kellie Smith, a Scottish planter with the rags to riches tale found his way working with Charles Alma Baker, a colonial pioneer from New Zealand specializing in road construction business.


On his trip back to Malaya after the death of his mother (where he took her maiden name, Kellie for commemoration), he met his wife who was also on her trip to Malaya. They later got married and had their first child together, a daughter. Due to the need of a successor to his empire, he wanted a son – which took Agnes, his wife 11 years due to pregnancy difficulty.


Through various business ventures, his business grew and so was his wealth which enabled him to purchase a 900 acre piece of land for his rubber tree plantation and homely estate named Kinta Kellas in Batu Gajah. The construction of the castle was also a celebration after Agnes was able to conceive a son, the heir to William’s empire.


Construction began in 1915, combining 3 architectural styles – Greco-Roman, Moorish, and Indian. A Spanish flu epidemic killed most of the Indian construction workers. Kellie Smith then built a Hindu temple near the castle to please the workers and to resume construction. Some believe the mansion possesses hidden rooms and secret underground tunnels, where one of them leads to the Hindu temple.


Sometime later, he left for England to fetch a lift for the castle tower (for what would have been the first elevator in Malaya) while making a detour to Lisbon, Portugal. He died shortly after from pneumonia and his wife packed up and left Malaya. She sold the castle to a British company called Harrisons and Crossfield since living there after the death of her husband was impossible.


William presented this Castle to his beloved wife as a symbol of love. Back then, people expressed their love through words and poetry but William decided to take it to another level by creating a home that would make Agnes feel less homesick because living in Malaya was very difficult for her; climate and environment wise.


The castle was left unfinished and abandoned. The road that leads to this castle follows the silhouette of the land in a maze-like fashion, adding to the mystery and romance of the place. Adding to its mystery, William’s spirit has been seen pacing at night in the 2nd floor corridor.


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