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Pictures of Corfe Castle

a Picturesque Village in the county of Dorset

About Corfe Castle

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Standing in lofty splendour above the chimney pots of the village with the roaring ocean lapping the cliffs to the other side of a rocky outcrop, the romantic ruins of medieval Corfe Castle, cast a dramatic shadow from every approach. There is evidence of habitation in the area in the days of pre-history but Corfe really came to prominence when the great castle was begun at the time of William the Conqueror.

The castle has a stirring history, and although for nearly all of the medieval period it was a Royal residence, it was tainted by dark and secretive deeds. King Edward II was imprisoned here and strangely, King John kept his crown jewels at Corfe. When the throne passed to Henry VII he gave the castle to his mother, however when Henry VIII succeeded, he claimed the castle for himself. Henry's daughter Queen Elizabeth I, sold Corfe to Sir Christopher Hatton, a favourite courtier and Chancellor. He fortified it as part of England's defences against the Spanish Armada.

Corfe Castle was eventually sold by the Hatton family, and at the time of the Civil War it was owned by the powerful Bankes family. Sir John Bankes was Lord Chief Justice to Charles I. Again mischief was afoot, Lady Bankes stood alone and in spite of holding the castle through the sieges of 1643 and 1645, she was finally brought down by the treachery of Colonel Pitman, one of her own officers.

The castle was left in ruins by the Parliamentarian forces, and although it continued in the ownership of the Bankes family it remained derelict throughout the centuries until it was gifted by the Bankes's to the National Trust in 1982.

Below the castle, the village of Corfe shows picturesque stone houses of the 17th-century. At the Corfe Castle Model Village you can see a perfect replica of the once mighty fortress. It's former splendour is vividly portrayed and like the magnificent hilltop ruin, cannot fail to impress all who see it.

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