National Trust Bodiam Castle

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The castle is completely surrounded by a spring fed moat, with approaches from the north and south. The castle itself is rectangular in shape, being longer in the north-south direction, and has large round towers at each of the four corners, and a square tower defending the centre of each side. The castle well is located in one of the corner towers, the chapel in another.

The main gatehouse is on the center of the North wall of the quadrangle, while the southern square tower has a postern gate. Both gateways had long bridges leading over the moat, of which the northern one turns at right angles an octagonal bastion before reaching the shore. This provided further defence to the main gate by exposing any attackers approaching along the bridge to arrow fire (and, by this time, gunfire) from the defenders in the north-west tower.

At the time of building, England and France were fighting the Hundred Years’ War, which had been going on since 1337. The south coast of England, where Bodiam was to be built, was in constant threat of French invasion. The castle defends the upper reaches of a river that was navagable in medieval times, when sea levels were higher. However, no such invasion ever came, and Bodiam was never involved in a medieval seige. After slighting in 1664 it fell into decay until the 20th Century, at one point its stones even looted by local builders.

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