Visit Corfe Castle and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Corfe Castle, Dorset. From almost any direction it is one of the most spectacular ruined castles in Britain, but perhaps the most romantic view of it is from the road North to Arne. Another superb view is from Kingston, 11 miles South. The ruins are best approached from the car park beside the road West towards Church Knowle.
The existing buildings (of Purbeck stone) date from the time of William the Conqueror to the 14th century. But the West Saxon kings, probably from Alfred onwards, fortified the site against the Danes and had a hunting lodge nearby; and here in 978, the 18-year-old King Edward, later called the Martyr, was murdered at the instigation of his stepmother who coveted the throne for her son, Ethelred the Unready. He called for a drink at the lodge where she was living and was given wine and a dagger in the back. It saw further foul deeds under King John. He made it his periodic residence, treasure-house and state prison. In its dungeons he starved to death 22 French nobles who had supported his nephew Arthur's claim to the throne. He also locked up the hermit, Peter of Pomfret, who had been unwise enough to forecast the King's downfall, before having him dragged to Warsham and back on a hurdle and then strung up. The Civil War brought the castle's destruction. Then owned by Sir John Bankes, Charles I's Chief Justice, it proved quite impregnable to the Roundhead forces, mines, cannon and two walking “tanks” called “the boar” and “the sow” all proving ineffectual, until Colonel Pitman, a member of the garrison, turned traitor and let in the enemy. It fell, long after most Royalist strongholds, in February 1646. Sir John Bankes had died in 1643, but throughout the siege Lady Bankes and her family had remained most spiritedly in residence, and were reasonably treated afterwards. Like so many, the castle was slighted after the war, much of its stone going to build houses in the village.
The village in the Middle Ages had a considerable marble-carving industry, and the engraved stones over some doorways are usually the work of the Purbeck Marblers. The church, much illtreated by Roundheads, was, except for the 15th-century tower, which has good gargoyles, rebuilt in 1859.
Nearby towns: Bournemouth, Poole, Swanage, Wareham
Nearby villages: Arne, Bere Regis, Bloxworth, Boscombe, Bovington Camp, Broadstone, Canford Cliffs, Canford Magna, Corfe Mullen, East Lulworth, East Parley, East Stoke, Hamworthy, Holton Heath, Kimmeridge, Langton Matravers, Lulworth Camp, Lytchett Matravers, Lytchett Minster, Morden, Northbourne, Parkstone, Stoborough, Studland, Turners Puddle, Tyneham, Ulwell, West Lulworth, Winfrith Newburgh, Wool, Worth Matravers
Have you decided to visit Corfe Castle or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Corfe Castle bed and breakfast (a Corfe Castle B&B or Corfe Castle b and b)
- a Corfe Castle guesthouse
- a Corfe Castle hotel (or motel)
- a Corfe Castle self-catering establishment, or
- other Corfe Castle accommodation