Bodiam is the poster-child for English Castles – literally. It’s the one you see in all the travel advertisements in airports and train stations. I had always longed to see it, and it was high on the agenda long before we got to the Kent portion of our journey.
Built in 1385, Bodiam has seen its share of conflict, from the 100 Years’ War, through the War of the Roses, where it was on the side of the House of Lancaster (that’s the red rose, and they lost the first round), through the English Civil War, where they supported the Royalist Cause. Needless to say, all those sieges, confiscations, subsequent returns of property, reversals of fortune, etc. were hard on the old girl’s complexion. Bodiam was left a picturesque ruin until 1829 when it was purchased and modest restorations carried out by the next three owners before the castle was turned over to the National Trust in 1925.
The restorations appear to have been very modest indeed, because the place is still a ruin. It looks wonderfully intact from the outside, but the interior is not quite decorator-ready. It’s also a lot smaller than I had expected; almost the “two up and two down” Hugh Grant stumblingly referred to in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Upon leaving the Luton Hoo, we had stopped in a small village to pick up some groceries for breakfasts during our week-long stay at Sissinghurst. The bakery had some wonderful looking breads, however our first choice got badly mashed in the slicer. We took it along anyway, and it proved very popular among the many ducks.
We enjoyed our day immensely. The weather held fairly steady (no actual downpours), and while the cloud was a bit too thick to get really great water-reflection shots, we had lots of fun with the camera. I’d love to go back on a truly sunny day. Maybe next time…