Dallingridge's Masterpiece

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Built in 1385 in East Sussex, Bodiam Castle is among one of England’s most famous fortresses. It is known for its enchanting, mythical appearance, and its symbolic display of fortune and authority. Today, although in partial ruin and decay, it is still renowned for its magnificent beauty. Now owned by the National Trust, Bodiam was established by Sir Edward Dallingridge, a well-known knight and one of Sussex County’s leading citizens. The Bodiam Castle is a representation of the social, political, and stylistic ideals of 14th century England.

Dallingridge was a man greatly preoccupied with rank and position. He was a war hero, the Knight of the Shire for Sussex, and owned the manor of Bodiam. “…he married the heiress to Bodiam Manor, Elizabeth Wardeux, from whom he derived the property- two classical methods of self-enhancement at the period”( Fraser 62). He constructed the castle with several purposes in mind, one being to draw attention to his importance in society. He was given permission from King Richard II to secure his land from threatened French invasion. Instead of reinforcing the current battlements of his manor, Dallingridge used the license to erect a completely new castle near his home. “Granting such a license proved that the monarch acknowledged a lord’s place in medieval society- and that the honoree had attained sufficient wealth to erect a castle” (Hull 64). Dallingridge, very much an egoist, took the opportunity to promote his self-worth.

“He was a highly successful soldier and when he returned home from the wars in France, laden with plunder, he found the need to advertise his local status with a castle” (Vanderwyk). Although it does contain military attributes the extravagance of Bodiam Castle was done fo...

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...hold. Through this piece of architecture, Bodiam Castle, a brief look at medieval history is portrayed along with a better understanding of life during 14th century England.

Works Cited

“Bodiam Castle.” HubPages. HubPages Inc. , n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

Fraser, Antonia. “Castles in the air.” History Today 49.2 (1999): 62. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

Hull, Lise. “Changing Conceptions of English Castles.” MHQ : The Quarterly Journal of Military History 20.4 (2008): 64-75,7. ProQuest Research Library . Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

Saul, Nigel. “Bodiam castle.” History Today 45.1 (1995): 16-21. History Study Center. Web. 16 Sept. 2011.

Turner, Charles. “The Castles of Old England.” The Monthly Illustrator 4.12 (1895): 26-32. JSTOR. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

Vanderwyk, Jack. “Bodiam Castle.” French and English Riviera . N.p., 1 July 2011. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

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