We spent Bank Holiday Monday at Bodiam Castle on the Kent/ Sussex border. It was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge c. 1385.
Sir Edward was born into the minor gentry c. 1346. Lady Elizabeth, sir Edwards wife, was a key figure in the castle’s history. She was heiress to the land of Bodiam and considerably wealthy to boot! Upon marriage Sir Edward was entitled to her land and money, which helped him to build the castle. A castle the size of Bodiam was large enough to house up to eighty servants.
On a natural note the castle plays host to bats, particularly the largest Daubenton maternity roost in England as well as well as a maternity roost of Natterer’s bats.
The castle stands alongside the River Rother and there is a beautiful walk following the river. The Tenterden to Bodiam railway also runs alongside the Castle stretch. There is nothing nicer than walking alongside the river with the castle on one side and the steam train passing by on the other. East Sussex is diverse and beautiful.
Today we did a rural village walk. Our route around the village of Northiam was taken from East Sussex Walks. In and around the rural villages by Sandy Hernu (ISBN 1857700597)
Our three and a half mile walk was quintessentially English on this late summer day.
An unexpected point of interest was Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. The remains of this huge oak tree is where Queen Elizabeth I chose to sit beneath and rest on her journey to the nearby town of Rye on August 11th 1573. She was served a meal under its branches brought from a nearby house. She then changed her shoes , leaving behind the original green damask ones as a momento of her visit. Apparently they still exist.
How many kinds of sweet flowers grow In an English country garden? We’ll tell you now of some that we know Those we miss you’ll surely pardon Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox Meadowsweet and lady smocks Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots In an English country garden…
‘Early in the morning men prepare their souls and their equipment for the forthcoming battle. Sounds of stone on blades and murmured Latin prayers are soon drowned out by the din of the drums calling the men to muster.’
On the 22nd August 1485 Henry Tudor brought a small rebel army to face the much larger Royal army of King Richard III.
The Battle of Bosworth heralded the dawn of the Tudor Age. England would never be the same again. The Church of England was founded and the British Empire was born.
‘Why, our battalion trebles that account: Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength, Which they upon the adverse party want. Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen, Let us survey the vantage of the field Call for some men of sound direction Let’s want no discipline, make no delay, For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.
William Shakespeare. Richard III Act V, Scene 3 Bosworth Field.
“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself]said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’. We entered and felt her Spirit – her Feng Shui – to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”
Rudyard Kipling on discovering Batemans, his future home.
Four hundred and nine years ago today, 2 May 2020, we had a New Bible. After seven years work, the King James Bible, a new version of the Christian holy book in English, is published for the first time in London. It was commissioned in 1604 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI.
St George is England’s patron saint. The anniversary of his death on April 23, is seen as England’s national day. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess.
Although I can see him still. The freckled man who goes To a grey place on a hill In grey Connemara clothes At dawn to cast his flies, It’s long since I began To call up to the eyes This wise and simple man. All day I’d looked in the face What I had hoped ‘twould be To write for my own race And the reality; The living men that I hate, The dead man that I loved, The craven man in his seat, The insolent unreproved, And no knave brought to book Who has won a drunken cheer, The witty man and his joke Aimed at the commonest ear, The clever man who cries The catch-cries of the clown, The beating down of the wise And great Art beaten down.
Maybe a twelvemonth since Suddenly I began, In scorn of this audience, Imagining a man, And his sun-freckled face, And grey Connemara cloth, Climbing up to a place Where stone is dark under froth, And the down-turn of his wrist When the flies drop in the stream; A man who does not exist, A man who is but a dream; And cried, ‘Before I am old I shall have written him one poem maybe as cold And passionate as the dawn.’
“The Fisherman”, published in 1916, depicts Yeats’ considerations into the loss of Irish tradition through the persona of a fisherman.
This image, caught on my Eastbourne seafront run last Sunday morning, made me think of The Fisherman by W. B Yeats.
Martin Luther King. Inspirational Baptist minister and political activist, he played a key role in ending legal segregation of African-American citizens and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
In 2017 I toured America’s Deep South and was moved beyond words to retrace Martin Luther King’s history.
‘You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say’ Martin Luther King’.