Despite being in ruins today, Bodiam Castle is one of the most impressive castles in England. It is a medieval castle in East Sussex built to repel a French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War. The castle’s most intriguing aspect is its moat which is an artificial lake, making it seem like Bodiam is itself a small island. While the castle survived the Hundred Years’ War, it did not survive the English Civil War in the following centuries. Today, the castle, although some renovations happened, is in a ruined state and belongs to the British National Trust. The castle is also one of the most popular medieval sites in the country and one of the most loved.
The story of Bodiam Castle goes back not to a king but to a knight called Sir Edward in the 14th century. Edward was also a parliament member and had himself a manor. However, he wanted to renovate it and got permission from the king to do it. As he began to plan his renovations, England found itself in a war with the French. This caused great panic among people and Edward’s community as well. Therefore, rather than build a house, Edward built a defensive castle in a brand new place. This castle became Bodiam Castle.
Unlike many castles in the United Kingdom, Bodiam Castle and all its components were finished at the same time. Therefore, all parts of the castle represent the same architectural style. This gives the appearance of the castle a unity which is not quite visible in many other castles in the area.
Arguably, the most impressive aspect of Bodiam Castle is its moat or the artificial lake around it. A common practice while building defensive forts, the water moat is visible in Bodiam as well. This made it so that the castle had only one entrance which the soldiers could protect easily. Moreover, before he built the castle, Edward landscaped the area so that the castle looked bigger than it was. The towers on each side of the castle also provided lookout positions to spot the approaching enemy as well.
In the following centuries, Bodiam Castle met an untimely end. When the English Civil War broke out in the 17th century, the castle belonged to Lord Thanet. Thanet supported the King but when the war ended, the roundheads disposed of the king. To pay his debts, Thanet gave the castle to the parliamentarians who damaged the castle strategically so that no one could use it against them again. Although an owner in the 19th century tried to renovate the castle, he could not do it as extensively as he wanted.