At a glance, Bodiam Castle is one of the most romantic places that man may have ever seen. Its verdant landscaped gardens, waterways, and fascinating ruins bring images of royalty and nobility to mind.

The castle was built in the 14thcentury to supposedly protect the area from invasion by the French. The archetypal castle features a portcullis, battlements, circular drum towers, and a protective moat. It is no wonder that Bodiam Castle is one of the must-visit historical monuments in England. The castle has seen several wars and sieges but its walls have remained strong. Many local and foreign visitors would often bask in the castle’s majestic ruins as historians continue to retell many of the heroic tales that happened during the Hundred Years War. 

It is no wonder that Bodiam Castle is one of the must-visit historical monuments in England. The castle has seen several wars and sieges but its walls have remained strong.

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England – Elno78 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Early History

In the early 14th century, the beginnings of Bodiam Castle started as manor home for Sir Edward Dalyngrigge who designed it to be a place where his family can rest and enjoy a comfortable life. When he was given the license to crenellate by King Richard II, Sir Edward not only installed walls for battlements but decided to construct a fortified castle, instead.  

Drawing of the castle [Public Domain]

Sir Edward designed the castle to have a quadrangular shape. This shape allows the place to have spacious inner courts for people living and working inside the castle. He also added the moats not just for aesthetics but also as a sewage system.

View of the castle and its surrounding moat (CC BY 2.0) by PhillipC

Bodiam castle was inherited over the Dalyngrigge line until the ownership was transferred by marriage when the last of Dalyngrigge line passed away. The castle was then taken over by the Lewknor family. 

Interior of Bodiam Castle – Josep Renalias [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout the years, the castle fell into ruins after facing several sieges and wars. It was only in 1829 that the castle was slowly restored after it was bought by John Fuller.

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Today, the National Trust has taken full authority over the castle. They started restoring, conserving, and regenerating the important parts of the ruins. The Trust also aims to restore the artifacts, collections, and historical paintings that date back to the early 14th century. 

Idyllic view of Bodiam Castle – WyrdLight.com [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Aside from the historical artifacts, the organization also aims to conserve the wildlife living around and within the castle walls. Several bat species like the Daubenton’s bat and Natterers bat have found themselves a home in the castle. 

Entrance to the castle – Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The National Trust also allows wedding ceremonies and movie shootings inside the castle’s strong walls. If you happened to see the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a lot of the scenes were actually shot inside this majestic fortress.

Beautiful angle of the castle taken from its interior [Public Domain]

Restoration of the beautiful ruins of the Bodiam Castle continues through donations and funds raised from the use of its facilities and visits to its attractions. Some of the attractions of the castle are archery lessons within the castle walls, restaurants, and souvenir shops right at the entrance of the castle.

Close-up view of the entrance to the castle – WyrdLight.com [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Facts About Bodiam Castle

  • Upon the death of Lord Curzon, the castle was donated to the National Trust as a monument. 
  • During the English Civil War, the parliamentarians destroyed the interior of the castle. Luckily, the outside walls were left untouched. 
  • The castle’s artificial water landscape was supposed to be a part of the defense of the castle.
  • During the War of the Roses, the Bodiam Castle was taken away from Lord Thomas Lewknor after pledging allegiance to the House of Lancasters. It took them two years to get the castle back.
  • Bodiam Castle had several owners throughout the years before it was donated to the National Trust.

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