About Bodiam Castle
Perhaps one of Britain’s most picturesque castles, Bodiam Castle was built by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge in 1385 and is now a popular tourist attraction operated by the National Trust.
Originally a manor home, Bodiam was converted into a castle by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, who was granted a licence by Richard II to crenellate the walls and fortify Bodiam. Dalyngrigge fought during the Hundred Years War, and, upon returning to England in 1377, married Elizabeth Wardeux, through whom he came into possession of Bodiam Manor. The castle served a dual purpose, both as a status symbol for Dalyngrigge, and as a defence against a potential, albeit unlikely, French invasion.
The castle itself, of quadrangular design, is characterised by a great moat and courtyard. The living quarters were built into the walls, which surround an open courtyard. The construction of a significant moat was made possible by technological advances which allowed the moat to be filled by springs. This lent the castle a modern edge, as prior to this most moats would have been fed by nearby rivers.
The moat thus served as an almost impregnable defence, and although the castle was never attacked, the moat would have negated the effectiveness of siege warfare. Indeed, apart from when the then Lancastrian owner Sir Thomas Lewknor surrendered to Yorkist forces, Bodiam Castle was never taken by force.
However, Bodiam’s tough defences did not always save the castle from damages. The interior of the castle was almost entirely destroyed by Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War, to avoid the castle being used by the Royalists. During this period the façade was also allowed to fall into ruin, although a succession of owners in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, notably Lord Curzon who purchased the site in 1926, contributed to the restoration of Bodiam Castle to its current state.
Today, visitors are invited to explore this beatiful castle and its surrounding grounds. Families and school children are also welcome, and there are a wide range of events and activities taking place throughout the year. For a full calendar of events check out the National Trust Bodiam Castle events page.
Contributed by Chris Reid