House Wrotham of Cumberland was once among the most respected noble families in all of Elden Nayor. Within the last generation, however, it has fallen further than perhaps any House of the Peninsula.
The Barony of Cumberland is small (one main island and a handful of smaller, surrounding islands off the western coast of Elden Nayor), but it is vital to the realm. Its surrounding waters provide bountiful harvest for the fishermen who make up the majority of Cumberland lowborn. House Wrotham has also traditionally administered all Elden Nayoran maritime operations. The Keep at Cumberland, an unassailable tower of massive proportions that serves as the Wrothams' ancestral home, is one of the wonders of the Age of High Sorcery.
There is also a strong personal bond between House Wrotham and the Albareen: Baron Jan Wrotham was among the earliest staunch supporters of Duke Larkin Albareen's claim to the throne in AN 956, and subsequent Albareen kings have continued the tradition of friendship between the two Houses.
In recent years, however, the personal tragedy surrounding Miles Wrotham, Baron Cumberland, and his family has led to a general decline for Cumberland, and to questions regarding the future of this island fiefdom.
In AN 1250 Miles Wrotham's wife, Merewen, and son, Caeden, died as the result of a carriage accident (the details of which were never disclosed to the public) as they returned to Keep Cumberland from Nayor's Stone. The loss was a devastating one for the baron, who dismissed his personal staff and withdrew to the confines of his keep.
Since then Wrotham has seldom appeared in public. He has removed himself entirely from the affairs of court, and ceased correspondence with his relatives (a few distant cousins from a handful of lesser mainland Houses). The lowborn of Cumberland speak of their lord rarely; any disputes that may arise are settled by magistrates sent from Nayor's Stone. Naval affairs in Elden Nayor, never a high priority for the Albareen, have all but ceased. The few large vessels that compose the Elden Nayoran navy are anchored in the harbor of Cumberland's main island, unmanned and barely seaworthy.
The Rivermen have long coveted dominion over the seas as well as the inland waterways, and with the decline of House Wrotham they have repeatedly pressured the throne for saltwater authority. King Barnard I Albareen, however, has on every occasion exerted his royal prerogative to protect that portfolio on behalf of House Wrotham.
Other noble houses have yet to intervene in the matter, but it seems certain that the current generation of House Wrotham is its last. Who will replace them as lords of Cumberland remains an open question.