Bodiam

Bodiam is situated close to the county boundary between Sussex and Kent, a stretch of the river Rother and its tributary - the Kent Ditch forms a length of the boundary. In the Domesday Book, it records that Osbern Fitz-hugh was Lord of the Manor. Osbern was known to his friends as Ossy the Toothless. He had lost his teeth by being an over indulgent sucker of treacle from his youth. Little did Ossy know, that after his death, his Manor House would be abandoned and left to fall into a ruin, whilst a strong castle was being built on top of his private treacle mine!

 

The building of Bodiam Castle, was the task of Sir Edward Dalyngigge, he feared a naval attack by the French. He did not dilly or dally and an impressive castle was built. Opposite the castle, within the range of a bowman, was the harbour, which had been dug out from the bank of the Rother. Sadly, when the level of the river dropped it was necessary to throw a mound of earth across the outlet to maintain any resemblance of a harbour used only by flat-bottomed boats. The area became a quagmire when the land sank even further, it became an even more stickier mess when in the south-east corner of the moat round the castle, a man-hole cover was discovered. It was a secret entrance to Ossy's treacle mine and treacle had found its way to seep into the quagmire. In an attempt to channel off the treacle from under the castle further digging formed a lake of treacle which gradually ran into the Rother and the Kent Ditch. The final result caused the land to sink below the level of the moat. The castle stood firm on its foundations.

 

From the interior of the castle, it is possible to enter the kitchen and through a door, leading to steps down to the basement of the tower. Here is the castle well and at the bottom of well an egg-shaped reservoir, eight feet in diameter and ten feet deep. It was whilst repair work was being carried out by the Roundheads, that the entrance to Ossy's treacle mine was discovered. The treacle was given to the soldiers before going into battle, it gave them extra strength.

 

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