"A ruin to remember" Top 5 Page for this destination Corfe Castle by iandsmith

Corfe Castle Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 192 photos

The life of the ruins

This medieval castle, after which the delightful village is also named, sits in a gap in the Purbeck ridge.
There is belief, with some thoughtful backing, that the site may have been Roman defensive originally, but the castle we see the ruins of today is an 11th century rebuild of what was a wooden castle back in the 9th century.
Constructed mainly from the famous local Purbeck stone, possibly the finest limestone available for building and polishing in England, it received many alterations over the years in a very chequered history.
In the 13th century King John went to great lengths improving his personal accommodation as well as the defences. He built a fine hall and chapel together with domestic buildings while Henry III constructed additional walls, towers and gatehouses.
Monarchs came and went until 1572 when Queen Elizabeth I sold it to Sir Christopher Hatton, her dancing master and, perhaps, a suitor.
In 1635 the Castle was moved on to Sir John Bankes, the then Lord Chief Justice, for use more as a holiday home rather than as an impregnable fortress dominating the surrounding lands.
During the Civil War, in 1643, the Parliamentarians occupied most of Dorset and the castle survived a six-week siege. Sir John Bankes died in 1644 and the castle endured a number of half-baked blockades. Later in 1645 a second siege was started by Colonel Bingham, Governor of Poole, and, courtesy of an insider, the Roundheads took over in February 1646.
The Castle was systematically destroyed by the Parliamentary forces, but the fact that some remains, albeit at times at frightening angles, is surely testimony to strength of construction. Ownership returned and remained with the Bankes Family until 1982 when it was bequeathed to the National Trust.
Details such as opening times, cost of admission, functions and facilities may be obtained from the National Trust site:

The Castle telephone number is: 01929-481294

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great ruin, lovely village, nice part of the country, not a lot of tourists
  • In a nutshell:Worth a visit and include the village and other surrounding ones
  • Last visit to Corfe Castle: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (16)

Comments (5)

  • CDM7's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Nice reviews! Good to see you have visited somewhere that I live.

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2006 at 8:28 AM

    I've always wanted to see Corfe - hope I will one day. :)

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo
    Dec 11, 2005 at 1:14 PM

    Ian, you have captured beautifully my favourite corner of England. I used to work in Swanage every summer when I was a student - this is a second home to me... or a third one, if truth be known. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • morgenhund's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2005 at 12:57 AM

    Not been for manys years now - maybe I'll have to have a holiday at home sometime! Mike

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2005 at 12:45 PM

    What a great castle !


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