corfe castle history

Corfe Castle: Centuries of Siege and Splendor

Welcome to the captivating world of Corfe Castle history, where tales of siege and grandeur abound. This iconic castle stands as a testament to royal power and architectural brilliance, with a history dating back centuries. Join us as we take a journey through time, exploring the rich heritage and fascinating stories that make Corfe Castle one of the most enchanting destinations in the United Kingdom.

Key Takeaways

  • Corfe Castle is a historic fortress dating back centuries
  • The castle has a rich history filled with tales of siege, grandeur, and architectural brilliance
  • Corfe Castle has served as a symbol of British heritage and a reminder of the triumphs and hardships of history
  • The castle and its surrounding landscape offer a variety of attractions, events, and experiences for visitors of all ages
  • A visit to Corfe Castle is a journey through time and a must-see destination for anyone interested in history or architecture

A Glimpse into the Past

Corfe Castle history dates back to the 11th century when it was constructed by William the Conqueror as a symbol of royal power. Over the centuries, it witnessed several conflicts, shaping its history and architecture. Today, Corfe Castle stands as a testament to medieval times, drawing visitors from around the world to explore its grandeur.

The castle has seen significant events, including the English Civil War, where it was sieged and captured by the Parliamentarians in 1646. The siege lasted for 6 weeks and left the castle in ruins. However, the ruins retain their charm and are a major attraction for history enthusiasts.

Corfe Castle Events

The castle hosts various events throughout the year, adding to its historical significance. Visitors can take part in guided tours, explore the ruins, and attend cultural festivals, such as the Tudor Week and the Purbeck Film Festival. Every year, the castle also hosts reenactments of battles, providing visitors with an opportunity to step back in time and witness the events that shaped the castle’s history.

Despite its turbulent history, Corfe Castle remains an iconic symbol of the region and draws visitors seeking to explore its rich past. Its significance is further enhanced by the preservation efforts undertaken by the National Trust, which has ensured that the castle remains a living testament to its history.

Royal Power and Influence

Corfe Castle has an aura of royalty that still lingers within its walls. The monarchs who resided here employed masterful strategies to exert their authority and influence over the region. Secrets abound within the castle, kept hidden from the public for centuries, each one adding a layer of mystery to its already rich history.

The Secrets of Corfe Castle

With such a storied past, it’s no surprise that Corfe Castle is filled with secrets. Hidden chambers, secret passageways, and concealed rooms were all used by the inhabitants of the castle to protect themselves and assert their power. Perhaps the most famous of these secrets is the attempt by Lady Bankes to smuggle supplies into the castle under the noses of the besiegers during the English Civil War. Her bravery and cunning are a testament to the determination of those who called Corfe Castle home.

Exploring these secrets is a must-do when visiting Corfe Castle. They offer an insight into the lives of those who lived within the castle walls, and the strategies employed to maintain their power and influence over the region.

Whether you’re drawn to the historic significance of Corfe Castle or intrigued by the secrets that lie within its walls, this iconic landmark is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and architecture.

The Siege of Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle’s history is not all about grandeur and magnificence. The castle has endured tumultuous times of sieges and battles, which have shaped its story.

One of the most significant events in Corfe Castle’s history is undoubtedly the Siege of Corfe Castle, which took place during the English Civil War. The castle was under the control of Royalists, but the Parliamentarians were determined to take it over.

The castle was besieged twice, the first time in 1643, and the second in 1646. During the first siege, the Royalists managed to hold off the Parliamentarians. However, the second siege was more brutal and ultimately led to the castle’s downfall.

The Royalists ran out of supplies and were forced to surrender. The Parliamentarians then ordered the castle’s destruction, leading to its ruin.

The Tale of Lady Bankes

One of the most famous stories from the Siege of Corfe Castle is the tale of Lady Bankes. She was the wife of Sir John Bankes, the Lord Chief Justice of England, who was away on business during the siege.

Lady Bankes was left in charge of the castle’s defense and was determined to protect it at all costs. She managed to hold off the Parliamentarians for three months, despite being vastly outnumbered.

As the castle’s supplies dwindled, Lady Bankes made the difficult decision to surrender. However, she negotiated safe passage for herself and her family, ensuring their safety.

Lady Bankes’ bravery and determination have earned her a place in Corfe Castle’s history and folklore.

The Siege of Corfe Castle is just one of the many tales that make up the castle’s storied past. Its enduring legacy continues to captivate visitors from around the world, drawing them into a world of courage, betrayal, and resilience.

Architectural Marvels

Corfe Castle’s unique design and imposing structure make it a marvel of medieval architecture. The castle’s walls, constructed with local Purbeck limestone, are over 10 feet thick in some places, standing as a testament to the skill of the craftsmen who built it. The castle’s stunning keep, which rises to a height of 21 meters, provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The castle’s strategic location atop a natural hill made it an ideal location for a fortress, but its design incorporated many unique features. One of the most notable is the keep’s entrance, which was constructed as a two-story building that was designed to be self-contained in case of a siege. The intricate stone carvings and detailed embellishments found throughout the castle add to its grandeur and highlight the skilled craftsmanship of the castle’s builders.

Another unique feature of Corfe Castle’s design is its entrance gate, which was constructed with two portcullises and a murder hole for pouring boiling oil or water on attackers. The castle was also equipped with arrow slits and machicolations for raining down projectiles on would-be attackers. These features make Corfe Castle a prime example of a medieval fortress and an essential stop for anyone interested in the history of fortifications.

The Keep

Height Diameter Construction Material
21 meters 12 meters Purbeck limestone

With its imposing walls, intricate design, and stunning views, Corfe Castle is truly a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Its unique features make it a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of British fortifications and the enduring marvels of human engineering.

Corfe Castle in Modern Times

While Corfe Castle history is a fascinating journey through centuries of royal power and influence, the castle is not just a relic of the past. Today, it is a vibrant destination that offers a plethora of events and activities for visitors to enjoy.

Among the most popular events at Corfe Castle are the historical reenactments, which allow visitors to step into the shoes of castle residents and experience life in medieval times. These events feature costumed actors, demonstrations of medieval crafts and skills, and presentations on the history of the castle and the region.

The Corfe Castle Festival

Another highlight of the Corfe Castle events calendar is the annual Corfe Castle Festival, which takes place every July. This lively cultural event features music, dance, theatre, and art, all set against the stunning backdrop of the castle ruins. Visitors can sample local food and drink, browse crafts and artisan goods, and enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities.

Aside from organized events, Corfe Castle is a great destination for hikers and nature lovers, with several walking trails that wind through the castle grounds and surrounding countryside. Visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the Purbeck Hills and explore the charming village of Corfe, with its quaint cottages, shops, and pubs.

No matter what your interests, Corfe Castle is a destination that will leave a lasting impression. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and lively events, it is a living testament to the enduring legacy of British heritage.

Hidden Gems and Unforgettable Experiences

Corfe Castle is not just a historical site, but it’s also a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The castle’s walls hold secrets beyond just its rich history. With its winding staircases, hidden passages, and stunning views, Corfe Castle offers an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Exploring the castle’s unique design elements and hidden chambers is an experience that is best savored at a leisurely pace. Take your time to discover the castle’s secrets, such as the small chamber known as the “Murder Hole” and the single, small window through which the castle’s servants would have received their meals.

If you’re a fan of breathtaking views, head up to the castle’s battlements that provide panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. By standing atop the battlements, you can appreciate the castle’s strategic location and the stunning beauty of the landscape beyond.

While you’re exploring the castle, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the hidden gems that can be found scattered throughout the castle grounds. From the charming village of Corfe to the enchanting countryside surrounding the castle, there are endless opportunities to create unforgettable memories.

“Corfe Castle is not just a historical site, but it is also a living, breathing testament to the people who lived here, worked here, and fought to protect it.”

As you explore the castle, it’s easy to get lost in its immersive atmosphere and authentic charm. Whether you’re attending a reenactment, touring the castle’s exhibits, or simply sitting on the castle green enjoying the stunning views, Corfe Castle is a place that will leave a lasting impression. Its rich history and spectacular surroundings make it a truly unique experience.

Corfe Castle is a place that has captivated visitors for centuries. Its tales of siege and splendor, royal power and influence, and architectural marvels continue to fascinate and inspire. Exploring its secrets and hidden gems is a journey through time that is not to be missed.

Experience the Secrets of Corfe Castle for Yourself

Ready to uncover the secrets of Corfe Castle for yourself? Plan your visit today and experience the enchanting world of this iconic castle firsthand. From its rich history to its hidden gems, there’s something for everyone to discover at Corfe Castle.

The Surrounding Landscape

As you explore the rich history of Corfe Castle, take a moment to appreciate the stunning natural beauty that surrounds it. The picturesque countryside, rolling hills, and charming villages make this location even more enchanting. The castle is situated in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck – an area of outstanding natural beauty, offering breathtaking views and unique experiences.

Discover the hidden gems scattered throughout the region, from the sandy beaches and rugged coastline to the heathlands and woodlands. Take a scenic walk or cycle ride along the South West Coast Path, which offers stunning viewpoints overlooking the castle and the coastline. Don’t forget to explore the charming village of Corfe, with its quaint tea rooms, pubs, and gift shops.

Local Wildlife

The surrounding countryside is home to a variety of local wildlife, including the rare Dorset Heathland reptiles, while the coast is home to unique birdlife and marine mammals such as seals and dolphins. Enjoy a wildlife safari or take part in a guided nature walk to get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna.

Historic Attractions

Beyond the castle walls, you’ll find a wealth of history and heritage to explore. Visit the nearby ruins of Knowle Hill Roman Villa, a historic settlement dating back to the Roman occupation. Take a trip to the iconic Swanage Railway, a restored steam railway that offers a glimpse into the golden age of travel. Or visit the quaint seaside town of Swanage, with its Victorian architecture and historic pier.

So why not immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and discover the rich history and heritage of the region beyond Corfe Castle’s walls. It’s the perfect way to create unforgettable memories and appreciate the timeless beauty of this historic site.

Corfe Castle: A Symbol of British Heritage

Corfe Castle is more than just a historic site; it is a living testament to the tales of siege and splendor that have helped shape British history. Its walls echo with the stories of monarchs who made this castle their home, and the battles that were fought here.

The castle’s rich history spans centuries and is woven into the fabric of the region. From the intriguing secrets that lie within its walls to the tales of bravery and betrayal during times of conflict, Corfe Castle has played a significant role in the history of the area.

Today, the castle stands as a symbol of British heritage and pride. Its preservation efforts are a testament to the importance of maintaining this historical gem for future generations. The castle’s architectural beauty and cultural significance have made it a popular destination for visitors from around the world, providing an opportunity to experience British history and culture firsthand.

The Significance of Corfe Castle

The importance of Corfe Castle extends far beyond its architectural beauty and cultural significance. It is a symbol of the triumphs and hardships that have helped shape British identity. The tales of siege and splendor that took place within its walls are a reminder of the bravery and resilience of those who fought for their beliefs.

Corfe Castle’s enduring legacy is a source of pride for the local community and a reminder of the region’s rich history. It is a place where visitors can immerse themselves in a bygone era, explore the castle’s secrets, and gain a greater understanding of the significance of this British heritage site.

Corfe Castle Tales

The tales of Corfe Castle are as fascinating as they are varied. From the battles for power that took place within its walls to the betrayals that resulted in the castle’s downfall, the castle’s history is filled with intrigue and drama.

One of the most well-known tales is that of the castle’s siege during the English Civil War. The castle was held by Royalists, who were eventually overthrown by Cromwell’s Parliamentarians. The siege lasted for several months and resulted in the castle being partially dismantled as a symbol of Parliament’s victory.

Other tales include the legends of King John’s treasure, which is said to be buried within the castle’s grounds, and the secret passageways that were once used by the castle’s inhabitants. These tales and many others add to the allure of Corfe Castle and make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in British history and heritage.

Exploring Corfe Castle Today

Corfe Castle is more than just a historic site; it’s an immersive experience that transports visitors back in time. There’s something for everyone at Corfe Castle, from exploring its rich history to indulging in the charm of the surrounding village. Plan your visit today and discover all that this iconic destination has to offer.


From the castle ruins to the charming village, there’s no shortage of attractions at Corfe Castle. Take a stroll through the castle grounds and explore the hidden passageways and breathtaking viewpoints. Stop by the museum to learn more about the castle’s storied past and the events that shaped its history.

For those interested in the castle’s architectural marvels, the castle’s keep and gatehouse offer stunning examples of medieval craftsmanship.


Experience Corfe Castle like never before with a guided tour. Expert guides will take you on a journey through time, revealing the secrets and stories of the castle’s past. Choose from a variety of tours, including family-friendly options that are perfect for kids.


Throughout the year, Corfe Castle hosts a variety of events that celebrate its rich history and cultural heritage. From reenactments of medieval battles to cultural festivals, there’s always something happening at Corfe Castle. Check the events calendar to see what’s coming up during your visit.

Surrounding Village

The charming village of Corfe Castle offers a glimpse into the past with its historic buildings and quaint shops. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets and soak up the authentic atmosphere. With a variety of pubs and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a traditional English meal.

Plan Your Visit

Corfe Castle is open year-round, with reduced hours in the winter months. Admission fees vary based on age and group size, and discounts are available for National Trust members. Check the website for up-to-date information and to purchase tickets online.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a memorable day out, Corfe Castle has something for everyone. Book your visit today and discover the magic of this living testament to history.

Corfe Castle: A Living Testament to History

Corfe Castle is a captivating destination that offers visitors a glimpse into centuries of royal power and architectural brilliance. From its origins as a fortress to its role in medieval times, Corfe Castle has endured sieges, battles, and transformations, making it a living testament to the past.

As you explore the castle’s secrets and tales, you’ll be transported back in time to experience the triumphs and hardships endured throughout the centuries. From the bravery and resilience of the defenders to the strategies employed by the attackers, Corfe Castle’s history is steeped in courage and determination.

Yet, beyond its storied past, Corfe Castle offers visitors a chance to appreciate the architectural marvels of medieval craftsmanship. With its imposing structure and unique design elements, Corfe Castle is a testament to human creativity and ingenuity.

Today, visitors can immerse themselves in the castle’s rich history through various events, activities, and exhibits. From reenactments to cultural festivals, there’s always something exciting happening at Corfe Castle. Visitors can also explore the hidden gems scattered throughout the castle grounds, from secret passageways to breathtaking viewpoints, creating unforgettable memories.

As a symbol of British heritage, Corfe Castle’s significance cannot be overstated. Its preservation efforts ensure this historical gem remains intact for future generations to appreciate. The castle’s role in shaping the identity of the region and the pride it instills in the locals is palpable, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a journey through time.

In summary, Corfe Castle stands as a reminder of the triumphs and hardships endured throughout centuries. Its majestic presence and captivating history continue to capture the imagination of visitors from around the world. Whether you’re fascinated by its architectural wonders or intrigued by its tales of siege and splendor, Corfe Castle is waiting for you to explore.


What is the significance of Corfe Castle in British history?

Corfe Castle holds great significance as a symbol of British heritage. It represents the rich history of the region and serves as a reminder of the triumphs and hardships endured throughout the centuries.

How can I explore Corfe Castle today?

To explore Corfe Castle today, you can plan a visit and immerse yourself in its rich history. There are various attractions, tours, and exhibits available that allow you to delve deeper into the castle’s captivating story.

What events and activities take place at Corfe Castle?

Corfe Castle hosts a range of events and activities throughout the year. From reenactments to cultural festivals, there’s always something exciting happening within the castle grounds. Check the calendar to see what’s coming up during your visit.

Are there any hidden gems to discover at Corfe Castle?

Absolutely! Beyond the castle walls, you’ll find hidden passageways, breathtaking viewpoints, and other surprises waiting to be uncovered. These hidden gems add an extra element of exploration and make your visit truly memorable.

What makes Corfe Castle’s architecture unique?

Corfe Castle’s architecture is a marvel in itself. Its imposing structure and medieval craftsmanship set it apart from other historic landmarks. The design elements and attention to detail showcase the skill and ingenuity of the builders.

How did Corfe Castle withstand sieges and battles?

Corfe Castle’s history is filled with stories of bravery, betrayal, and resilience. During sieges and battles, both attackers and defenders employed various strategies. The castle’s defenders showcased remarkable courage and determination in the face of adversity.

What can I expect from the surrounding landscape of Corfe Castle?

The surrounding landscape of Corfe Castle is breathtaking. Take a moment to appreciate the picturesque countryside, rolling hills, and charming villages that add to the enchanting ambiance of this historic location.

How has Corfe Castle adapted over the years?

Corfe Castle has adapted and transformed over time while keeping its rich history alive. Today, it continues to be a vibrant destination with events and activities that ensure its legacy remains intact.

How can I learn about the hidden secrets of Corfe Castle?

To uncover the hidden secrets of Corfe Castle, explore the castle’s hidden chambers and stories. These hidden secrets add an air of mystery and intrigue to the already storied past of the castle.

What is the historical significance of Corfe Castle’s construction?

The construction of Corfe Castle holds immense historical significance. It showcases royal power and influence and stands as a testament to the brilliance of medieval architecture. Exploring its construction offers a glimpse into the past and the grandeur of the era.

Is there anything unique about Corfe Castle’s events and festivals?

Corfe Castle’s events and festivals are truly unique. They offer a chance to immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of the castle and its surroundings. From historical reenactments to cultural celebrations, these events bring the castle’s history to life in a memorable way.