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"
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