BodiamOnce a place of military importance, Bodiam in East Sussex is now known for its beatiful moated castle.
The village is in prime hop growing country and for many years Bodiam hops were turned into pints of Guinness.
Bodiam was something of a backwater on the River Rother until 1385 when the threat of French invaders (who had laid waste to Rye in 1377) meant that Bodiam became thrust into the front line of England's defences, guarding the River Rother and the Kent Ditch from potentially marauding foreign fleets mustered in the Channel.
Bodiam CastleBodiam Castle was built by Bodiam bigwig Sir Edward Dalyngryndge, fittingly with the booty he had accumulated during the Hundred Years War against the French.
The only time Bodiam Castle ever came under real attack was, ironically, in the English Civil War when General Waller's troops inflicted considerable damage to the castle, deliberately dismantling part of Bodiam's defences as they made their way through Sussex.
Bodiam Castle was allowed to decay until Jack Fuller of Brightling bought the place in 1829 and saved it from demolition. Another owner, George Cubitt, started restoration work in earnest at the end of the 19th century, but the real salvation of Bodiam castle came at the hands of its next owner - Lord Curzon.
While Curzon, who served as Viceroy of India and then Foreign Secretary, was a "most superior person", his work in completing the restoration of the castle and his donation of it to the National Trust on his death in 1926 are great works for which we can all be grateful.
Places of interest around BodiamInteresting places in and around Bodiam include:
- St Giles church in the village of Bodiam contains a church bell given to the Bodiam by the His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in gratitude for the work of Rev AE Cotton, who had served as the Emperor's military advisor during World War II. The emperor's bell, plus the existing bells at the church which were recast, were dedicated at a service led by the Bishop of Chichester in 1961.
- The Sussex Border Path weaves around the casle and the eastern edge of Bodiam village.
Bodiam travel notesBodiam has a railway station on the Kent and East Sussex Line on which you can enjoy a steam train journey.
By road, Bodiam lies a mile west of the B2244 road, which runs from Hawkhurst in Kent towards the large seaside town of Hastings in the south.
© East Sussex.org 2008-10.
Sunday December 08