Corfe Castle | National Trust

The dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle stand on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills. As you can see it guards the gap between the south of Purbeck, where Purbeck marble was once quarried, and the rest of England. Nothing could pass in or out without going past the Castle.

Panorama of Corfe Castle

It may have been a defensive site even in Roman times and Corfe Castle certainly has had a colourful history. The first castle buildings would have been built of wood. In 979 King Edward was reputedly murdered by his step-mother so that her own son Ethelred the Unready could become King of England. In the latter half of the 11th Century the Castle was rebuilt in stone by William the Conqueror and for the next six hundred years was a royal fortress used by the monarchs of England and latterly their constables.

By 1572 warfare had changed and Corfe Castle was sold by Queen Elizabeth I to Sir Christopher Hatton, her dancing master and favourite. In 1635 the Castle was bought by Sir John Bankes, who was Lord Chief Justice, as an occasional private residence.

Corfe CastleAs trouble brewed for Charles I, the Bankes family took up permanent residence. By 1643 most of Dorset was occupied by the Parliamentarians, and Lady Bankes and her supporters successfully withstood a six week long siege. Sir John Bankes died in 1644 and the family endured a series of half-hearted blockades by Parliamentary forces. Late in 1645 Colonel Bingham Governor of Poole started a second siege, and treachery by one of the garrison allowed a Parliamentary force into the castle in February 1646. The Roundheads allowed the family to leave the Castle and then it was systematically destroyed by Parliamentary sappers.

Sir Ralph Bankes, son of Sir John, built a new home, Kingston Lacy House, to the west of Wimborne and managed to gather together many of the plundered possessions to furnish the new house.

The Castle remained in the ownership of the Bankes family until 1982 when it was bequeathed as part of the Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle Estate to the National Trust by Mr.H J R Bankes.


Corfe Castle Gallery


Corfe Castle Opening Times

nt-logoJanuary – March: 10am to 4pm
April – September: 10am to 6pm
October: 10am – 5pm
November – December: 10am to 4pm

Last entry to the castle is 30 minutes before closing.
Castle, shop and tea-rooms closed 3 March and 25 to 26 December.

Corfe Castle, 01929 481294, corfecastle@nationaltrust.org.uk
For more information, please visit the National Trust website.


Address
The Square, Corfe Castle, Dorset, BH20 5EZ

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Upcoming Events

28th

Meet a Musketeer at the Castle

Date: Saturday, 28th April 2018 - Sunday, 29th April 2018
Time: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Location: National Trust Castle Castle, Corfe Castle Dorset

Travel back in time and meet a Royalist musketeer of the Civil War

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05th

Saxons & Vikings: Siege of Wareham at the Castle

Date: Saturday, 5th May 2018 - Monday, 7th May 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Location: National Trust Castle Castle, Corfe Castle Dorset

Witness the sound and fury of Saxon and Viking warriors in pitched battle as they recreate the siege of Wareham

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12th

Meet a Musketeer at the Castle

Date: Saturday, 12th May 2018 - Sunday, 13th May 2018
Time: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Location: National Trust Castle Castle, Corfe Castle Dorset

Travel back in time and meet a Royalist musketeer of the Civil War

Read More...

19th

Meet a Musketeer at the Castle

Date: Saturday, 19th May 2018 - Sunday, 20th May 2018
Time: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Location: National Trust Castle Castle, Corfe Castle Dorset

Travel back in time and meet a Royalist musketeer of the Civil War

Read More...

29th

'Land':nature tales from the Mother of the Mound

Date: Tuesday, 29th May 2018 - Thursday, 31st May 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: National Trust Castle Castle, Corfe Castle Dorset

Thora, a 3,000 year old spirit, waits to be woken. What pearls of wisdom will she reveal?

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29th

'Land':nature tales from the Mother of the Mound

Date: Saturday, 29th September 2018 - Sunday, 30th September 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: National Trust Castle Castle, Corfe Castle Dorset

Thora, a 3,000 year old spirit, waits to be woken. What pearls of wisdom will she reveal?

Read More...