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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 14:23 GMT
Medieval castle gets a face-lift
Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge, dates back to the 14th Century
Major conservation work to preserve one of East Sussex's most spectacular landmarks is getting under way.

Bodiam Castle was built in 1385 but the interior has been exposed since the roof was removed during the English Civil War more than 350 years ago.

The National Trust has now hired a team of stonemasons to carry out repairs to the windows, which is the start of a five-year restoration project.

New windows are being cut out of sandstone similar to the originals.

The medieval moated castle, near Robertsbridge, was built by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge when the French were raiding the Sussex coast.

Last year the National Trust was told its wooden portcullis was almost certainly the original.

'Incredibly skilled' job

Tests involving radiocarbon dating showed a 95% probability the oak came from trees felled in the 14th Century.

Work began on Monday with stonemasons taking more than an hour to manoeuvre a window support weighing more than a quarter of a ton into position.

Architect John Bailey said it was an "incredibly skilled" job.

"They've put it on a bed of lime mortar, which will allow the building to move and allow the stone to breathe," he said.

"But they may take an hour or more just to get that one stone in."

George Bailey, property manager, said funds for the repairs all came from entry fees at the castle, even though the property belonged the National Trust.

"Every visitor that comes into the castle is helping," he said.




SEE ALSO
National Trust fined over sewage
10 Apr 06 |  Southern Counties
Castle gateway gives up secrets
04 Aug 05 |  Southern Counties

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