In the county of Dorset in the Purbeck hills lies the ruins of Corfe Castle. This once-grand structure was built by William the Conquerer is around a thousand years old, built in the 11th-century. It would have palace and fortress and a home, once stood proud on the hill overlooking the villages down below watching enemy approaching. Now ruins, blown-up in 1646 by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians. It is still a beautiful site to visit, the stunning scenery below and the ruin walls of what would have been.
In 1572 Corfe Castle left the Royal domain when Elizabeth 1 sold it to Sir Christopher Hatton and he sold it to Sir John Banks in 1635, he was Lord Chief Justice and made it his occasional private residence. Lady Mary Banks tried to defend the castle when the Civil War broke our in 1643 and again in 1645 but she was overcome by treachery by one of her own officers, Colonel Pittman. The castle was blown up following an Act of Parliament lead by Oliver Cromwell’s parliament. Sir John Banks died in 1644 and Lady Mary died in 1661. With the castle in ruins Sir John Banks son Ralph started to build a new home in 1663 that of Kingson Lacey. The castle and Kingston Lacey remained owned by the Banks family until 1982 when the National Trust took over both properties.
This trip I made in 2019, please check for up-to-date details of entry times.
National Trust members have free entry. I thought it is a must-see site for the history that surrounds these ruins. There is plenty of grass to sit with a picnic. Although once you have looked around the site there is not much else to see. The small pretty village the castle sits in is worth a look around too with some small independent shops.
Look out for my post on Kingston Lacey.