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"They rode up and down several streets, all of them paved with cobbles, while Pen gaped at the high houses, the well-dressed men and women, the bright markets, stately merchants and hurrying servants, fine fountains in squares crowded with laundresses, elegant or clever wrought-iron signs for artisans' shops and guildhalls, windows of stained glass with pictures."
―Penric's first impression of Martensbridge[src]

The town of Martensbridge was a large royal free town of the Cantons, located along the river Linnet and a large lake. It was ruled by a princess-archdivine, by long tradition a daughter of the Hallowed King of the Weald. Martensbridge was beholden only to the Hallowed King, but maintained treaties with nearby cities with more varied allegiances. Wealdean was spoken in the area.


The most plausible origin of the city's name was that an earlier lord of kin Marten built the first bridge across the Linnet. The improved roads caused the city to grow, but kin Marten lost control of the area to a distant prince of the Weald.

Upon acquiring its royal charter, Martensbridge became a centre of trade. The city was noted for its glasswork, and, shortly before Penric's time, became a centre of silk-making. At the time of Penric's Demon, the surrounding area had been troubled by local lords who had taken to robbing merchants. The guilds of the city had combined with the princess-archdivine's troops to destroy the nests they couldn't buy out. Castle Martenden was one of the few remaining hold-outs.

Facts about Martensbridge[]

  • Martensbridge contained the head house of the Bastard's Order in the Cantons.
    • It was on Stane Street.
  • There were at least two bathhouses in the town - the one near the temple was large and intimidating, while a smaller one was apparently more often used for assignations.
  • The temple had previously been smaller and made of wood, but after one of the periodic fires in the area, was replaced with a larger stone building.
  • It was approximately 400 miles north of Easthome in the Weald
  • Lower Linden Street had a highly-regarded maker of spectacles
  • Elm Street had second-hand clothing shops.

People from Martensbridge[]

Behind the scenes[]

In location, Martensbridge roughly matches Zurich, Switzerland