I like castles.
[quote]Castle’s secrets yet to be fully uncovered
The remains of some strange old building features have just been unearthed, quite by chance, inside Bodiam Castle.
One of most beautiful and spectacular castles in the country, Bodiam was built by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge in 1385 and is now owned and managed by The National Trust.
The exciting discovery happened on Friday February 2 when some earth was being cleared away in the Great Hall ruins. The ground was being made ready for a new gravel base when suddenly the mini-digger struck stone. As the earth was carefully cleared away, with an archaeologist on hand to observe the proceedings, more stonework appeared along with some clay tiles and pieces of rubble. It soon became apparent that this was something substantial: a wall of some kind. Further down the Hall something else appeared, a strange circular construction.
National Trust staff were puzzled and immediately got on the phone to East Sussex archaeology department. Casper Johnson, the County Archaeologist, agreed with the Castle’s staff about the rubble and tiles; they might well have fallen onto the ground and been subsequently buried at the time the Castle was ‘slighted’, or semi-demolished on the inside, by Cromwell’s troops at the end of the English Civil War. The wall and circular feature, however, were a mystery. Could they be the remains of a gardener’s cottage built inside the ruins in the eighteenth century (illustration attached)? Or perhaps part of Sir Edward Dalyngrigge’s medieval hall?
There is now a race against time for the National Trust and the archaeologists and historians, as the remains will have to be covered over again rather than being more fully excavated.
It’s a wonderful discovery for the Castle and the staff there are very excited, but it couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. It’s all happening at the moment, as the Castle staff make preparations for full time opening (7 days a week, 10.30am – 5pm) from 10 February. There are the children’s events for half term to get ready, some new wooden stairs and decking are being installed on one of the towers, and two massive trees are being cleared from the moat. They were blown over by the recent storm winds and in falling they dug out large chunks of the moat bank – some more ‘unearthing’ at the Castle, which has certainly opened up the view across the romantic moat to the battlements and towers.
More photos of this beautiful castle.