Bodiam Castle

Nigel Saul examines the social aspirations of a fourteenth-century Sussex castle and the man who built it.

Bodiam castle in Sussex was the creation of one combative egotist, and it owes its preservation to another. The builder of Bodiam was an ambitious retired war veteran and future councillor of Richard II, Sir Edward Dallingridge. Its saviour five-and-a-half centuries later was that 'most superior person', the Marquess Curzon of Kedkston, Foreign Secretary and one-time viceroy of India.

Sir Edward Dallingridge's castle – graceful, noble and proud – appears the very epitome of the medieval stronghold. Essentially it consists of a single oblong-shaped courtyard rising from a broad moat. All the domestic and garrison accommodation is disposed around the four walls of the interior. In the west range are the servants' hall and kitchen, in the south the main hall and service rooms, and in the east the chapel and the private chambers of the lord and lady. Defensive panoply is concentrated in the four cylindrical corner towers and, above all, on the great gateway on the north side.

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