In the south-eastern corner of England you can find several impressive castles – Hever, Leeds, Dover, Rochester, Deal and Bodiam amongst them. Historically the region has always been vulnerable to attack from foreign shores.
As we were staying in the Weald of Kent for a few days, which is on the East Sussex border, we decided to take the historic steam train from Tenterden to Bodiam and walk to the moated castle, often glimpsed from the road when passing by. We could have driven there in about 10 minutes, but sometimes it is nice to take things slowly and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
In 1377 French ships raided the Sussex coast, causing widespread damage and panic among the local population which led to the building of nearby Scotney Castle. The French later raided nearby Winchelsea in 1380, so when a new French invasion threatened in 1385 Sir Edward Dalyngrigge (one of Edward III’s knights) applied to King Richard II for a license to fortify and strengthen the existing hall he lived in.
Having been granted permission he decided to build a new sandstone fortress near the River Rother, which at that time was navigable to the coast. Though its primary aim was defense, Dalyngrigge made sure that Bodiam was also a comfortable abode, as much a fortified residence as a military stronghold. And of course a visual symbol of his wealth.
Bodiam Castle is considered to be the finest example of medieval, moated, military architecture in Britain.
The French invasion never took place, and Bodiam’s impressive defenses were never tested until 1484 when the castle fell to a siege by Richard III.
Do you have a favourite castle?
40 thoughts on “Bodiam Castle”
A great mingling of history and photos. What a pity the’s only a shell left. I love the shot of the castle across the moat with the bank of clouds behind (not the full frontal one) and the gallery works beautifully – you’re a mistress of galleries!
A favourite castle? Australia’s a bit light on castles, although there was a monumental Hall near the church of my childhood, all of 120 years old. I did have a castle day when I was travelling in Syria (may peace come) in 2000: it ended with Krak de Chevaliers which was pretty splendid and relatively undestroyed. I remember wondering how on earth they kept warm. And yes, it is damaged now.
I pretty much like them all!! Jude, who owns the castles and maintains the properties? Is there some kind of public trust funded with visitor fees, etc?
Lovely pictures of one of our iconic castles. If I had to pick a favourite it would probably be Hever, because I lived nearby when I was a child and we visited often.
I have not been to Hever, but I’d like to. Maybe the next time I’m back in the south-east!
Romantic looking for us now, but they must have been different back when they were built, especially for the peasants, I wonder if that would be me 🙂
Oh, gosh yes! You’d want to be one of the knights! I suspect I’d be scrubbing pots in the kitchen 🙂
Great post, Jude..I like your history and you’ve given us a nice walk around. The steam train adds to the fun, slow travel is great! Do I have a favourite castle? When I was small it was Rhuddlan in North Wales. Hochosterwitz in Austria was another. But there are plenty more …..
Oh, this a beauty, Jude.
Yes, since a couple of weeks, I have a favourite castle; Lindisfarne castle. I’d love to live there! The last owner actually lived there with his sister a managed to turn it into a cosy, inviting home. Only the tidal floods of tourists to the island would make me think twice. 😮
Sissinghurst is a favourite, but I said so already a hundreds times…
I have been inside Lindisfarne, and although it has wonderful views, it is a bit too dark for my liking – however – did you visit Bamburgh nearby? Now that is more my style 😉
🙂 Yes, thought so… 😀
That is a magnificent, fascinating castle! Great photos of the structure and the details. Thank you, Jude!
I have a special place in my heart for Bodium. When my daughters were little we had many a happy picnic there.
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