Bodiam Castle

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bodiam Castle is considered to be the finest example of  medieval, moated, military architecture in Britain.

The interior from the Postern Tower
The interior from the Postern Tower

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?

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Heyjude

I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

40 thoughts on “Bodiam Castle”

      1. Yeah… If I have the money, then next year at this time, I shall do a two week driving and photography trip in England and Scotland. I don’t know the fate of the UK, however.

  1. As before Jude, and you know I love Bodiam Castle having spent a lovely afternoon there with Eldest son and Hubby last autumn. Enjoyed seeing your pics and what fun to take the steam train which only adds to the enjoyment of a lovely outing 🙂

  2. There is a romantic allure about castles and your photos have re-inforced my desire to someday go on a castle tour in England. It’s been on my wish list for a long time 🙂
    It’s been only recently that I realized castles were actually walled ‘cities’. Your photo of the interior courtyard reinforced that impression.

  3. My reaction was ‘oh, goodie. a castle I don’t know!’, Jude, and what a romantic looking one it is (never mind the damp 🙂 ). And a steam train ride, too. T’ luxury! 🙂
    Having (or trying to) a mega housework catch up today, visiting ancient auntie and booking travel insurance for Dad. (he’s off to Spain next week- £99 single trip!) And then I really must stop posting and simply catch up. Any offers with the ironing? 🙂

    1. Haha, can I add my ironing to your pile? No? Spoilsport…
      Yes, travel insurance is a pain once you are over 65 OR if you go away for more than 31 days. We always had annual travel insurance which covered the both of us, but the OH is now 65 so that’s no good, and my Oz trip is more than 31 days. I never bothered with travel insurance when I was young, and wouldn’t now other than for the health costs abroad. Another reason for staying in the UK.

      1. We have a yearly with Direct. I think they’ve increased the rate a bit for this OAP but not significantly. Never managed more than 31 days. Working on it! Still sunk in gloom and mizzle in NE. 🙂

    1. The rooms are all practically in ruins (you can see most of them in the last photo) though the tower rooms have survived. There are some castles with more rooms to look around and Dover Castle is a good example where you can imagine people actually living there.

  4. Jude not that I have seen a multitude of castles however this one sitting in the water is so striking. As one other reader mentioned the dampness must be an issue. As always I love talking in the variety of angles, perspective and distance you use.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 …..

  7. 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 o_O to the island would make me think twice. 😮
    Sissinghurst is a favourite, but I said so already a hundreds times…

    1. 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 😉

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