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Tony Grist

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I Love The Middle Ages [May. 25th, 2015|10:05 am]
Tony Grist
We were in Bodiam yesterday. If you don't know it in actuality you'll know it from the movies. Whenever the filmakers want a small, perfectly formed medieval castle to muck around in it's Bodiam they go to. It played Locksley Hall in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves- and a simulacram of Brian Blessed was made to swing in a cage above its battlements. Bodiam was built in 1385 and Prince of Thieves is set some two hundred years earlier, but that's show business for you.

Yesterday was Bank Holiday Sunday and Bodiam was full of people. I'm not used to crowds- and I found it a bit oppressive. There were actors dressed up like eejits medieval folk giving talks about aspects of fourteenth century life. Ailz, who stopped to listen, said the chap in sabots who was talking about the medieval arms race was really interesting. First the armourers devised an arrow that would go through mail and so the boffins on the other side developed plate armour, so then the armourers devised an arrow that would go through plate- and so on.  The niftiest invention was an arrowhead shaped like a crescent moon that was designed to go spinning through horse armour. It didn't do the horse a great deal of damage, but it stung like a hornet- so the horse reared up- and once a knight in armour was flat on his back on the ground he was about as much use to the war effort as a tin of sardines.



After lunch we escaped into the surrounding countryside  and I went and poked around in churches. Sandhurst has late medieval glass (see previous post) and Newenden (otherwise tiny and verging on insignificant) has a magnificent 12th century font.







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Comments:
[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2015-05-25 12:03 pm (UTC)
Looking at that font reminded me of our trip to London last year. I remember wandering St. John's Chapel at the Tower, grateful and slightly unnerved that the tourists can touch the stonework of an 11th century church. Back home in Phoenix, anything still standing from the 1950s is considered an historical relic.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-05-25 02:04 pm (UTC)
It's a tiny, insignificant-looking church (most of which fell down in the 17th century.) I wasn't expecting to find anything this good inside.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2015-05-25 01:03 pm (UTC)
That font is just amazing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-05-25 02:07 pm (UTC)
But looking at the church- which is tiny and insignificant- you'd never guess there was something this good inside.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2015-05-25 02:02 pm (UTC)
I recognize that castle!

But that font...it is so superb and the carving are in wonderful condition.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-05-25 02:08 pm (UTC)
It's one of the finest fonts I've come across. And- as you point out- it's in great condition.
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From: artkouros
2015-05-25 02:24 pm (UTC)
Fabulous. Imagine being one of those old stone cutters and your work still being enjoyed (although maybe not understood) centuries later.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-05-26 08:39 am (UTC)
It says on a site I visited that the pictures on the font
seem chosen at random and don't make any particular symbolic sense. I think the carvers probably worked from pattern books. "Hey, I fancy having a go at that lion!"
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2015-05-25 04:44 pm (UTC)
I think Bodiam also stood in for Northanger Abbey in the 1980s production with Katherine Schlesinger, Peter Firth, Robert Hardy, and Googie Withers -- at least for the exteriors when the Tilneys and Catherine Morland first drove up.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-05-26 08:40 am (UTC)
Very likely. It's the perfect location- a nearly intact medieval castle with no later additions, set in beautiful countryside and only 50 miles from London.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2015-05-26 12:23 pm (UTC)
It sure is a beautiful place. I visited it quite along time ago. Worth seeing again if i have ny work that way.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-05-26 06:16 pm (UTC)
We visit at intervals. When my mother still had a dog it was a place to take it "walkies".
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2015-05-26 06:18 pm (UTC)
That font is exquisite.
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