Bodiam Castle Bits #1 – SW corner of the courtyard
Bodiam Castle Bits is a series of posts looking at details of the castle that may have passed you by. Bodiam Castle is a NT property in East Sussex, England.
The South West corner of the courtyard
The South West corner of the courtyard is the most complete section of the castle’s inner wall.
Beyond the fine windows in the right hand corner was the great kitchen. Behind the two lower windows were the buttery and the pantry. The left hand door led into the screens passage of the great hall and on to the postern gate.
However, this series is not here to look at the big picture. It’s here to look at the bits – the details.
The right angle junction between the South and West ranges is topped with a nicely shaped piece of stone. I had been in the castle on and off for eighteen months and never noticed this feature. A visiting archaeologist pointed it out to me.
It’s interesting because Bodiam has lost a lot of it finely worked stone. But it’s not that finely worked…
No, it’s mainly interesting because it’s possibly the only remaining indicator of how high the interior walls once were. This style of moulding probably ran around the interior walls of the courtyard at or near this height for most of the circuit.
It’s difficult with my camera to get a close view, but here are a couple of my better efforts:
You can see the profile of the moulding quite clearly here. It matches mouldings elsewhere in the castle on the towers and chimneys. There seems to be something strange in as the lower part of the moulding turns – it looks a little like a cylinder projecting. This may be a separate piece of or a trick of the light.
I’ve included this view to give a little more context. What you notice as the wall continues along the South range (to the left) is that it seems to be higher but not to have the moulding. It could be:
- that this wall was always higher,
- that it has been capped at a higher level during repairs or, whisper it,
- that the moulded piece has been reset in the wrong place.
This view does show how the internal wall behind the moulding butts in neatly behind it.