Sunday, 28 October 2018

Historical Feast Part 3 - Bodiam Castle, Kent

Bodiam Castle was a 14th century castle in England, East Sussex on the river Rother, near Robertsbridge. 
In 1385, Sir Edward Dallingridge, a former knight of Edward III, amassed considerable wealth. In particular his activities during the Hundred Years War, where he served under the Earls of Arundel and operated on mercenary expeditions with Sir Robert Knollys, which gave him prestige and influence at court. This led to appointments in his native Sussex where he was made a Commissioner of Array in 1377 and a few years later appointed as a Justice of the Peace.

He married Elizabeth Wardeux in 1377 and this union brought him the manor of Bodiam. He lobbied the King for permission to fortify his new acquisition, citing the requirement for enhanced defences in Sussex, and Richard II duly granted him to do so in October 1385.

The reason for the construction of Bodiam Castle is hotly debated. The late 13th century was a low point for English fortunes during the Hundred Years War and England itself vulnerable to invasion and therefore the Sussex coast, due to its proximity to France, was considered as a particular risk.

However, notwithstanding its impressive appearance, the castle had many defensive shortcomings. The shallow and easily drainable moat, the limited field of fire of the artillery positions, the large windows and thin walls all suggest defence - at least against an organised military force - was clearly a low priority. On balance it seems likely Bodiam was primarily constructed to consolidate Dallingridge’s  hard won status and win credibility amongst the nobility.

The Dallingridge male line died out in 1470 and it passed by marriage to the Lewknor family.

In 1483 Sir Thomas Lewknor, incurred the wrath of Richard III leading to Bodiam being besieged by Royal forces the following year. The defences proved inadequate and the castle was quickly surrendered before being confiscated by Henry VII after his victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field (1485).

 The final military action at the castle took place in 1643. The castle's then owner - John Tufton - was a prominent Royalist but the south-east was under Parliament’s control and John was duly forced to capitulate. The internal buildings of the castle may have been slighted at this time although the castle itself had not been inhabited since the fifteenth century and they may have been ruinous long before. The castle remained an abandoned ruin until it was restored in the nineteenth century by John Fuller. It was gifted to the National Trust in 1925 by the last private owner, Lord George Curzon.

Although a slightly overcast day, the crowd numbers where very low (outside of mad season) which meant my brother and I had some great photo opportunities and afterwards we shared a good English pint at the local Inn, aptly named "The Castle Inn"

Medieval Wards engraved into stone to keep away witches

Decades of Graffiti

Self Portrait - Assassins Creed audition

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Historical Feast Part 2 - Scotney Castle, Kent

Have made great progress over the past few weeks, as i chug through over 1000 photos from my recent trip, it's time to share another great highlight.
Scotney Castle, Kent.

The earliest record regarding Scotney castle dates from around 1137, with records giving the owner of the estate to a Lambert de Scoteni.

It has been reported that the original plan may never have been finished, and by 1558 it is likely only the southern tower remained. 
In 1580 the south wing was rebuilt in Elizabethan architecture style. The Elizabethan wing remained a bailiff's residence until 1905, but the eastern range was partly dismantled on the completion of the new house in 1843, leaving the ruin as a garden feature.

Around the outside of the castle are some amazing grounds including a hollow created by the development of a Quarry which contains a 100-million-year-old impression of a dinosaur's footprint.
In 1970 after the death of the last owner, the estate was left to the National Trust.

Unfortunately we arrived at the time they started their restoration work so we were limited to only viewing the castle from the outside.

Never the less still a beautiful piece of history and once again provided plenty of photography opportunities.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Historical Feast – Hever Castle, Kent

Hever Castle is located in the village of Hever, Kent, near Edenbridge, 30 miles south-east of London, England. It began as a country house, built in the 13th century.

Hever castles history spans more than 700 years, and is rich and varied. The original medieval defensive castle, with its gatehouse and walled bailey, was built in 1270. 

In the 15th and 16th centuries it was the home of one of the most powerful families in the country, the Boleyns, who added the Tudor dwelling within the walls.

The Castle was to become the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife, who became Queen of England for just 1,000 days. It was Henry’s love for Anne and her insistence that she became his wife rather than his mistress that led to the King renouncing Catholicism and creating the Church of England.

Hever later passed into the ownership of another of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne of Cleves, and from 1557 onwards it was owned by a number of families  but gradually it fell into decline before William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle. He commissioned the ’Tudor Village’, now called the ‘Astor Wing’ and the construction of the magnificent gardens and lake. 

The castle is itself sits on a huge estate with various architectural buildings scattered around an amazing lake. This brings with it building styles ranging from French provincial,Italian renaissance  and even a Japanese summer house.

During my walk around the grounds i stumbled across an old Saracen light tank and a 25 pounder canon, only to be pleasantly surprised to then find I had  come across the Kent and County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) Museum.

The Kent and County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) unit was formed in 1961 as the  amalgamation of two yeomanry regiments, the 297 (Kent Yeomanry) Regiment, Royal Artillery and the 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters). It served initially as an armoured reconnaissance regiment until 1967 and the re-organisation of the TA, when it was disbanded and reconstituted as three separate units.


  • Seeing Anne Boleyn’s pocket bible which she took with her to the execution bench at the tower of London. Blood spills can be seen on the pages.
  • Beautiful Gardens well preserved and cared for over 300 years old.
  • King Henry VIII’s elaborate gold plated door locks on nearly all the stately rooms.
  • Secret personal prayer room hidden behind a wall
  • Tudor Windows and solid Oak beams (300 years old)
  • Local pub built in 1597. Loved the bitter
  • Ancient Tomb in the village parish 15th Century