Barquentine (Gormenghast)

Gormenghast character
First appearance Titus Groan
Created by Mervyn Peake
Gender Male
Title Master of Ritual
Family Sourdust (father)

Barquentine is a fictional character in Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast series. He is the son of Sourdust, the Master of Ritual of Gormenghast castle. He is a one-legged, hunchbacked dwarf with a bitter, vicious personality; he never washes, he dresses in filthy rags, and his hair and beard are long, tangled, and dirty. He is frequently taunted by the castle's children, who sing "Rotten leg, rotten spine - ya! ya! Barquentine!"[1]

When he appears in the first book, Barquentine is 74 years old, and lives a hermitic existence in an obscure tract of the castle. He takes on the hereditary office of Master of Ritual following the death of his father, and accepts Steerpike as his assistant. In the second book, Gormenghast, he is murdered by Steerpike, who takes over the post of Master of Ritual.[2]


  1. Peake, Mervyn (1998). Gormenghast. Random House. p. 262. ISBN 9780749394820.
  2. Peake, Mervyn (1 November 1991). Gormenghast. Overlook Press. p. 240. ISBN 0879514264.
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