Bodiam Castle

 

Completed in 1385 -  Bodiam Castle is near Robertsbridge, in East Essex, England. An example of on of Europe's "Water Castles" (a moat, pond or lake which comprises the majority (or completely encloses) a castles perimeter. Built during The Hundred Years War (to resist French invasions), it saw no service during that war. During The War of The Roses (1455-1487), a Loyalist force was sent to besiege Bodiam (whose owner, Thomas Lewknor was Lancasterian). No historical documentation shows that the castle was actually besieged (but Lewknor surrendered). He lost control of Bodiam. During the reign of Henry VIII, Bodiam was returned to Lewknor. During The English Civil War (1642-1651), Bodiam was owned by Lord John Tufton (himself a Royalist). Parliamentarian forces were ordered to "slight" (or ruin) Bodiam so it could not be used as a military structure. With the Royalists defeated (and a large tax levied against him by the Parliamentarians), Tufton had to sell Bodiam to the Rebel Government. It sat for centuries in complete ruin.

 

Purchased in 1829, partial restoration of what was left of Bodiam began. Most renovations were completed in 1925. Although still considered a ruin, many feel Bodiam is the "ideal" of what a Medieval castle should appear to be. Bodiam is a Quadrangular-type fortification. Originally starting out as a Manor House, this was converted into the rudiments of a Keep. It is speculated that the trademark Moat was actually more extensive than present. The Moat is still fed by several ponds. At one point, the Moat served as the castle sewer (residents and visitors throwing their waste directly into the pond!). A primitive plumbing system (installed later) and servicing 28 toilets, did the same thing.

 

Access to the castle was gained via a long wooded walkway (over the Moat), to the Gatehouse (long since gone). Bodiam has 4 large defensive Towers located at the perimeter defense walls 4 points. All the original interior structures have long ago been destroyed (although their foundations are readily seen). It is also unclear just how big a garrison Bodiam could have held. The castle receives over 200,000 visitors a year.



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