Did he marry for love or for money? In 1377, Sir Edward Dalyngrigge returned from fighting in France. Having himself accumulated power and wealth, he strengthened his position by marrying Elizabeth, the heiress of the Wardedieu or Wardeux family, the inheritance including the manor of Bodiam in which Sie Edward and his wife built the castle of Bodiam, completed around 1385.
Ostensibly built as a defence against potential French invasion up the River Rother, and while it had many defences to ward off attack, today the castle, with its reflection in the lake all around it, has the appearance of the romantic castles in England. The castle with its four corner round towers and central towers and gatehouses was designed to impress, and inside the accommodation – which would have been luxurious in its day – is built around the external walls to create a large central courtyard.
The castle was never attacked by the French and, ironically, it was the English who destroyed it during the Civil War and left, probably accidentally, a romantic and picturesque ruin, which has evidence of various visitors over the years in graffiti carved into the stonework. Happily, from the 19th century onwards, different owners have sought to conserve and restore the ruin, the last being Lord Curzon who donated the castle and the estate to the National Trust in 1926.
Lord Curzon was back last weekend, valiantly fighting off the unwanted attention of Suffragettes as he tried to give a political speech, linking with exhibitions on the Suffragettes on display in two of the remaining rooms of the castle.