Corfe Castle in Dorset stands proud atop a mighty hill and although it is in ruins it is still one of the most visited castles in England.
|All photos owned by Cassandra Samuels|
When I visited Corfe Castle in 2010 with my husband we both felt it was a special place. I spent a lot of my time touching the leaning walls and listening to our guide in fascination. There is a lovely walk from the car park along a path which had a bubbling brook along side. Cheeky squirrels tried to throw nuts and berries down on us as we passed. Then up the hill to the town centre. A further trek up another hill and the ruin envelopes you and takes you back in time. It's walls whisper of a tragic history.
A castle with a dark past
In 978, before Corfe the castle was built, King Edward the Martyr was murdered by his stepmother. She wanted to put her own son, Ethelred ‘the Unready’, on the throne. While Edward was hunting in the area he stopped off at Corfe where Elfryda gave him a goblet of wine. It wasn't poisoned as you might think but while he was drinking his wine she treacherously had him stabbed in the back.
Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror after his arrival in Britain in 1066. It was used by the surrounding towns as shelter in times of trouble. Much of the Isle of Purbeck was a Royal Forest. Death was assured if you were caught hunting game without royal permission.
In 1643, and after the death of her husband during the Civil War, Lady Mary Bankes successfully defended the castle. However, in a second siege in 1646 betrayal by a member of her garrison led to their capture.
They deliberately demolished the castle. Leaving the ruin we saw on a lovely English summer day. Much of the missing stone can be found in the houses of Corfe Castle Village.
There is plenty to do at Corfe and the surrounding areas. I recommend going to Kingston Lacy which was also owned by the Banks family until both were given to the National Trust.
Join me soon when I take you through Kingston Lacy House.