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Essay: How large is Redwall Abbey?

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(This is my first essay and it's in progress, so please be patient.)

If you went for a walk in the woods and ran across Redwall Abbey, how big would it be? Would it be too small for a human to fit inside? Would it be the size of a doll's house? Could you sit down in the Great Hall and enjoy a feast alongside the mice and moles?

Let's look at the size of Redwall inhabitants and compare them to a building.

With the possible exception of wildcats, badgers are the biggest species commonly seen around Redwall. The smallest intelligent (not insects) residents of Redwall would be shrews, which are a bit smaller than mice.

European badgers (according to Wikipedia) are about 70 cm long (about 27 inches), not counting the tail. They weigh about 10 kilograms, but this can vary quite a bit. Hares are about as long as badgers, but weigh only half as much.

A human who stands 68 inches (5 feet 8) is about 2.5 times as tall as a grown badger. So if we take a human-sized abbey and divide it by 2.5, we should get the size a badger-designed Abbey would be.

House mice can be about 10 cm long (about 4 inches), not counting the tail. Our 68-inch adult human is about 17 times taller than a mouse, but let's be generous with the sizing and consider Redwall to be a suitable size for badgers. They do fit comfortably in the Abbey, according to all the books, and the inhabitants of Redwall are all probably a lot closer to each other in size than they are on Earth. (Badgers are 675% taller than mice by our measurements! If you were a standard Earth mouse, a badger would look bigger than a house to you. Badgers on Earth eat mice for dinner. Redwall mice and shrews are probably bigger.)

Westminster Abbey, which is probably the most famous abbey in the world (it's in London and is a popular tourist attraction), has a bell tower 225 feet tall. This makes it roughly 40 times the height of a human. The nave (that's the rectangular part) is 101 feet tall, or about 18 times the height of a human.

So. If an Abbey bell tower is about 40 times as tall as the creatures who built it, you'd expect a badger-sized abbey bell tower to be 90 feet tall (27 inches per badger, 40 badgers tall = 1080 inches, divided by 12 = 90 feet). The nave (18 badger-lengths) would be about 40 feet tall.

Let's check the math:

  • 225 feet is a human abbey bell tower, and humans are 2.5 times as tall as badgers.
  • 225 / 2.5 = ... yup, 90 feet.
  • 101 / 2.5 = 40.4 feet.

Looks like we got the math right.

So you'd still be able to get inside Redwall Abbey, at least the Great Hall. (Assuming it was designed to fit badgers and was built to be as grand as Westminster Abbey, which is a fair amount of assumption; not all abbeys are that size.) Redwall would look about the size of a large house to you, with a bell tower as tall as a mature tree. Just try not to eat them out of a season's harvest while you're there!

What if Redwall was scaled to suit mice? Humans are 17 times taller than a mouse, so let's give that a try:

  • 225 (bell tower) / 17 = 13.25 feet. The bell tower would be more than twice your height.
  • 101 (nave) / 17 = 5.9 feet. Hmm. You could see over the top of the Abbey roof by jumping up and down.

If you managed to get inside, with your feet in the Great Hall, your head would reach the attic (and you might bump it on the ceiling, if the dormitories are in the way!)

See, math can be useful. I hope you found that interesting. Please feel free to comment.  :)

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