Pudding shoot tradition still strong at castle

Archer SUS-141223-142642001
Archer SUS-141223-142642001

Archers will be setting their sights on Bodiam Castle on Sunday (January 4) for the traditional annual Christmas Pudding Clout.

Over 50 archers will compete on what is thought to be the original medieval joust ground at Bodiam Castle.

The archers will shoot at target bosses to score points, with the winner taking home a wooden effigy of a Christmas pudding, a nod to the origins of the clout.

The event dates back at least 25 years when Bodiam Castle and the local archery group came up with a novel way to destroy mouldy Christmas puddings.

The puddings came from a manufacturer whose decision to reduce the amount of preservatives in the festive dessert resulted in a layer of edible mould growing on the surface.

Hundreds were returned and had to be destroyed.

Arrow fire was selected as the chosen method. Now the group no longer shoot at real Christmas puddings, but eat them instead.

Heather Packham, visitor experience manager at Bodiam Castle comments: “Of the many traditions in Bodiam Castle’s history, this is an unusual activity which is relatively unknown.

“It’s become as much a part of the castle as our medieval characters, jousting knights and people posing for a photograph in front of the castle”.

“For the first time this year, visitors will be able to watch this old tradition as it takes place in Doakes Meadow.

An area will be roped off for spectators to watch at a safe distance from the arrow fire.

Archers will also be happy to answer any questions on the clout itself, the techniques of accurately hitting a target and the origins of the Christmas Pudding Clout.

Visitors can watch the annual Christmas Pudding Clout on 4 January between 10am-2pm at Bodiam Castle in Doakes Meadow.

Normal admission charges apply, National Trust members free.