Monday, 28 February 2011

Last-Year Travels: Bodiam Castle

So after all the fun of the seaside in Margate, last Saturday we drove into Kent and East Sussex. After a rather indulgent lunch at The Curlew, we took a scenic stroll over to Bodiam Castle. If you had to draw what you imagined a castle looked like, you'd probably come up with something like Bodiam. It's got a moat, portcullis, battlements and is in a suitably picturesque state of ruin.

Now that's what I call a real castle.
It was built in 1385 and passed between owners until the English Civil war. The then-owner was a Royalist and sold the castle to pay his fines. It was left in ruins until the nineteenth century when various owners stepped in to preserve the castle before it was passed to the National Trust in 1925.

The information film showing inside the castle described how the arrival of railways brought an influx of tourists to see the castle. It remains as popular today - the attendant told us that even on the damp and dark February day of our visit, they'd had about 300 visitors.

As I snapped away with my camera, I remembered how I'd visited with my parents about twenty years ago, and taken many of the same pictures. On my subsequent internet trawl, I found the same views, drawn, painted and photographed, time and time and time again.

(via Stereoviews)

Wilfred Ball, Sussex Painted (1906) (via From Old Books)

The castle fits snugly into scenic views through the years, changing seasons and its various stages of care and repair.

If those walls could speak, no doubt they could tell more tales about family days out and tea and sarnies in the National Trust cafe than war and bloodshed. A particularly British type of castle ...

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love visiting castles. So much history and just imagine what life was like when they were inhabited! Very inspiring.



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