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(The finest ruined castle in the Country)
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Name Derivation

General Details

Bodiam Sussex - View down from a Balloon
In Roman times, Bodiam was a main crossing point for the road leading from Beauport near Battle to the North Kent coast. It was also used as a port from which to ship the Iron Ingots produced in nearby Sedlescombe , Staplecross and Stonegate .

Bodiams main claim to fame is its great medieval military fortress, the last to have been built in England. This moated fairytale castle was built by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge between 1385 and 1390 as a protection to the Rother valley from the French. Sir Edward Dalyngrigge and his wife were buried at Robertsbridge Abbey .

The castle was only attacked twice, once in 1484 by Richard III who captured it, and in 1645 by the Roundheads led by Sir William Waller, who left it in a partially ruined state.

From 1754 until the early 1800's, guns and cannons manufactured at Robertsbridge were shipped from Bodiam to Woolwich Arsenal, and other destinations.

In 1828 it was purchased by John Fuller " Mad Jack " of Brightling from a firm of Hastings Builders, who were demolishing it to use as building materials.

Mad Jack spent a lot of time and money repairing the building, and replacing the main gates.

In 1917 it was acquired by Lord Curzon, who carried out further restoration and repairs. On his death in 1925 the castle was bequeathed to the National Trust, and can be visited, and explored to the present day.

Bodiam is a small village, mostly located near the 12th Century church of St Giles on the Sandhurst road.

The only inn in the village was also built in the 14th Century to provide food and lodgings for the visitors to the castle, which it continues to provide to the present day.

The Bodiam area was a main hop growing area, and in the early parts of this century, a large number of Londoners would come down via the railway to the Guiness hop farms to pick the crop.

The village used to be on the Robertsbridge to Headcorn railway line, which was axed during the 1960's by Dr Beeching. However the steam enthusiasts from the Kent and East Sussex Railway based in Rolvenden, have restored the line from Tenterden to Bodiam .

The engineering on the line has been completed, and services to Tenterden are expected to commence in April 2000. When the line is completed, there will be No tickets or parking available in Bodiam, and all trips will need to be booked and commenced in Northiam or Tenterden .

The Rother Valley Railway Company, an offshoot of the Kent and East Sussex Railway, are also hoping to restore the branch from Robertsbridge to Bodiam , which will then provide a continuous Steam Train link from Robertsbridge to Tenterden .


Bodiam East Sussex - Hot air balloon launching from the Castle grounds
Bodiam has limited services, and to to get anywhere a car is needed, however a two hourly bus service does run through the village from Hawkhurst to Hastings.

This makes a pleasant day trip passing the Kent & Sussex Countryside to Bodiam . The lack of services is made up for by the rural atmosphere.

The nearest large town is Hastings about 10 miles South, the smaller towns of Battle approx 7 miles South West, and Tenterden approx 7 miles North East also provide services for the area.

The nearest railway station is at Robertsbridge , about 4 miles to the West, however most residents use Etchingham station about 6 miles west, as there are more stopping services.


Bodiam East Sussex - St Giles church
There are many views in Bodiam one of the best is from the old Railway station across the valley towards the castle.

A second is on the Sandhurst road just before you reach the church looking down on the castle.

In the summer a great number of hot air balloons are launched from the Bodiam area, providing a peaceful break with their quiet transit through the surrounding countryside.

The Steam Trains from the Kent and East Sussex Railway go to the village from Northiam , Rolvenden and Tenterden .

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