It’s been an exciting week at Bodiam Castle in Sussex. We have been running the last week of school workshops there this year. We’ve met some lovely schools but we’ve also had some other excitements.
Today (14 October 2016) is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Battle Abbey, which stands on the site of the battlefield (and is only 15 minutes from Bodiam), is hosting a large re-enactment of the battle this weekend, with over a 1000 re-enactors on the field. We attended the last big event, the 940th anniversary 10 years ago and Wel had a whale of a time. I remember a great arrow storm and horses charging the Anglo Saxon line.
On Wednesday this week, our first bunch of Anglo Saxons appeared to have a look around the castle. They were all dressed up in costume. They were German re-enactors and my German linguistic abilities consisting of Good afternoon and thank you, I didn’t go and engage with them.
The next day however, a whole load of Australian re-enactors appeared to have a look around the castle and take photos of themselves dressed in costume in the beautiful surroundings of Bodiam Castle. The grounds are full of lovely spots to stop and take a photo. They had come over all the way from Perth to take part in the Battle.
Later in the day, there were further surprises as we learnt that the re-enactors who had been recreating the walk from Stamford Bridge to Battle had arrived at the castle. They started their walk at Clifford Tower in York on 25th September, walking up to 20 miles per day and on Thursday they had reached Bodiam. The local press had arrived too and the Bodiam Staff had their photo taken with them. We were really pleased for the school that had been visiting us that day, Kingston Grammar School, as it made their visit even more special. They’ve been visiting us at the castle every year for the last ten years and it was a busy day for us with 4 workshops spread throughout the day. They hurried over to meet the re-enactors too. Every year the school children make their own shields and have a mock battle on the hill. What a lovely bonus for them this year to meet some Anglo Saxons!
The final surprise came today. Whilst sitting waiting for our school to arrive we heard over the sites radio that Dan Snow, the TV presenter and historian would be visiting the castle today. The lady in charge of promoting the castle had been in touch with him, noticing that he was in the area and asked if he’d like to come visit and he had said yes! He arrived at lunch time and was shown around by Heather & Janet who work for the castle. We bumped into Janet whilst having our lunch and asked if she thought he’d mind if we had our photo taken with him, she thought he wouldn’t as he’d been very friendly. Heather very kindly introduced us and we very cheekily asked for a photo with him. Thank you Dan! He is reporting on the weekends events and looking at his Twitter feed, there will be an item on the One Show about it tonight. Hopefully the castle might be mentioned!