In 2004 my husband and I took a trip to England & Scotland. This was one of my dream trips as I have a MA in History (specializing in Tudor and Stuart England) and taught Western Civilization at the college level.
After a week in London, we rented a car and took off to tour the country, staying in B&Bs. At one point we stopped in a small village to get snacks, and the store keepers, knowing we were tourist by our accents, asked we we’d been to Bodiam Castle and recommended we see it. So next morning we went to see. As you can tell from the photo, Bodiam Castle was a moated castle built in the 14th century, the very iconic fairy tale castle with crenellated four towers. The castle was partly dismantled in the 16th, but in the 1829 was partially restored. Now it belongs to the National Trust and open to us tourist. The exterior is almost complete, and even the gatehouse has the original wooden portcullis.
Since we arrived early before the castle opened, we visited the souvenir shop. While in the shop we talked to one of the locals who ask about our visit. Learning I was a history teacher, he mentioned that later that evening the local historical society was having a reading of Rudyard Kipling and would we still be in the area. He asked, “Do you like Kipling?” A pause while my inner American/Groucho Marx took advantage of an opening too good to pass up. “I don’t know,” I replied, “I’ve never kippled.” Apparently even old American jokes are new in England and everyone laughed. Then I apologized as we would have to miss Kipling as we were leaving that afternoon.
The castle is only about half there as the timbers and wooden or lath walls are gone. Was really interesting, you cross the moat, and at the barbican, the murders’ holes (pics). Once inside, it’s quickly obvious that medieval people were much smaller that we are. I’m not a tall person (5’4”) anyone taller than I probably would have to duck to get through the door ways. Once inside one of the room that was still complete accept for the roof, it would have been very dark.
The really fun part was going up one of the towers. As we’re going up the clockwise staircase (with very little steps, couldn’t get my whole foot on the steps), I’m explaining to my husband that the stairs are this way so that most people being right-handed, any invaders wouldn’t have room to swing their swords. And right after I said this, we met a husband and wife coming down the stairs, the husband swing his cane to show his wife how the defenders would have the advantage over any invaders. I forget if we backed down or they went back up, but there was no room to pass on those stairs.
Once we got to the top of the tower, here was a great view over the country side. You could have seen anyone who was coming a long way off. We had a great time at Bodiam Castle all because we stopped and talked to people in small shop.
Have you ever stopped and without planning found an interesting place?