Bodiam Castle Generations Project

The approach to the Castle from the South

The approach to the Castle from the South

Earlier this year I had to come up with a ‘stretch target’ for my personal development review at the Castle. Inspired by the people I meet every day I decided to create the Bodiam Castle Generations Project (Bodiam’s Other Dynasties was another possible title).

I found I was often chatting to visitors about how they kept coming back to the Castle. They took great joy in introducing the next generation of their family to the place. I especially enjoyed it when multi-generational family groups turned up. I was interested in the ways that these families wove the Castle into their personal histories.

My idea for the BCGP was that it would capture and value these stories. In my work we talk a great deal about Kings, Knights, Ladies and battles (and quite a bit about peasants, squires, cooks and gong scourers) but rarely do we talk about the visitors who have frequented the site as tourists since at least the eighteenth century.

It’s a spare time thing, so it has been slow to develop. I’ve joined the Oral History Society and I’m learning how to interview, document and transcribe. I’ve been in contact with the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus and now have an excellent placement student – Karen – helping me with the project.

I hope that I’ll have more time to spend on the project as the season draws to a close in the next few weeks. We certainly have a few more interviews lined up and visitors from further away have been sent questionnaires.

If you and your family have been visiting the castle for generations, I’d be delighted to hear your stories (in person or via post or email). It would be good to see some photographs as well. Please do get in touch if you are interested in being part of the project.

This year has been a pilot – developing the questions and learning new skills. Soon we’ll have to sit down and work out a) what we have, b) what it might mean and c) what we might do with it. I’m looking forward to it.

My thanks to my bosses and colleagues at Bodiam Castle, Karen, Dr Deborah Madden at Brighton and to those who have contributed their stories to the project so far.

The project now has a Facebook page that we’ll try to keep updated. Feel free to ‘Like’ it.


About lancewoodman

Heritage interpreter, playwright and teacher. Living on the South Coast of England.

Posted on October 22, 2012, in Bodiam Castle, Bodiam Generations Project, Sussex. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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