Bodiam Castle – a peek into medieval England
Having decided to enjoy the last of the autumn sunshine, we packed a picnic and set out over the breathtaking Dartford Bridge and Tunnel to East Sussex.
The drive was beautiful and our destination was no less spectacular- Bodiam Castle.
Set amongst picturesque surroundings, farms and woods, the castle looks like it is right out of the fairytales.
Walking around the castle we found discovered some beautiful flowers
and were fascinated by these mushrooms growing all over the place.
Certainly not edible, I’d say. What a pity- they were so beautiful.
What with all the fairytale surroundings- one bite might actually turn someone into a frog.
In the grounds, we were met by some lovely ladies, all in-character engaging children with their puppetry and enchanting dragon stories.
After wandering around the place, we then went across the little bridge that went over the moat into the castle.
Notice the bunch of people at the near end of the bridge all peering into the water?
I found that very curious as I walked up, because they simply weren’t looking up at the majestic bit of history right in front of them.
What do we think we discovered?
Humungous Carp fish. It was really amusing to see that they were almost wrestling with the ducks for the bits of bread that were thrown to them from the bridge.
Now that was totally unexpected and exciting, specially for the little children.
That was fun, but the castle itself is terrific, terrifying even. Complete with towers, battlements and spiral staircases, it really gives you a peek into medieval life.
The castle’s gate itself had a massive Portcullis, like all medieval castles,
As we walked through it, I wondered what must happen to unwelcome guests back then, if they managed to cross the moat and then even escape the portcullis, while seems an impossible feat.
My thoughts and doubts were promptly answered by our guide, who pointed out the murder holes right above our heads ..
Guess what purpose these served?.. No you are wrong, they weren’t for spying .. Medieval humour was far more gross.
Murder holes or meurtrière are holes in the ceiling through which the defenders could fire, throw or pour rocks, arrows, scalding water, hot sand, quicklime, tar, or boiling oil, down on unsuspecting attackers. Scary, eh!
Inside the castle are mostly ruins. Although most of the interior has fallen, the castle’s outside walls and towers with their turrets and spiral staircases are intact.
You could imagine Rapunzel sitting up there and spinning away at her wheel.
We were taken down a delightful trip in medieval times, by an other volunteer called William the Forester, also in-character. Behind him you can see what is left of the Great Kitchen.
The man is such a wonderful story teller, he kept the entire audience, old and young alike spellbound while he talked about old times and the castle walls echoed with laughter.
He is one of the best guides I have seen in a long long time and what made our experience of Bodiam Castle a truly special one.
The castle itself was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, with the permission of King RIchard II, to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years War.
After several generations of Dalyngrigges, and passing through several hands, Bodiam Castle was left as a picturesque ruin until its purchase by John Fuller in 1829 who got it partially restored .
The final owner Lord Curzon, undertook further restoration work and donated it to the National Trust on his death.
We walked all through the castle, up and down the winding steep spiral staircases and looking all around at the beautiful surroundings.
The day was fantastic.
As we left for home , we were really surprised to see a lot of vintage cars lined up.
Closer inspection revealed that there was a car rally- The Tour of Kent.
We were lucky enough to spot some fabulous cars-one of them was even called CAR.
Check it out for yourself- how cool is that?
Some more cars..
Then finally, after a day well spent- we all went home.