Where is Corfe Castle and why was it destroyed? | The Sun

BUILT after the Norman conquest in 1066, Corfe Castle could tell many stories from over the years.

Battles, murders and the assassination of a King see this medieval stronghold as a real point of interest.

Where is Corfe Castle?

Corfe Castle stands overlooking the village of the same name.

In the English country of Dorset, the impressive structure stands proudly on Isle of Purbeck peninsular.

Now owned by the National Trust, the castle has yearly visitors of over a quarter of a million people.

When was Corfe Castle built?

Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century after the Norman invasion.


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It was one of the earliest castles in the country to be built using stone, with most at the time still being earth and timber.

The Normans were still building timber structures but Corfe Castle was constructed using stone walls, reaffirming its importance and dominating the landscape of the defeated English.

Due to the style of the construction being mainly Saxon, it is thought that William used local masons to accomplish the feat.

It was renovated in the 12th century for William's son, Henry, with the sole intention of making it impressive which they certainly managed.

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Why is Corfe Castle famous?

The castle is known for many reasons, during medieval times it was used by King John to keep the crown jewels in.

He took a shine to the structure and was a a regular visitor, using England's finest craftsmen to upgrade many parts of the castle.

During his troubled reign the insecure monarch sought refuge at the castle for long periods and also used it to house political prisoners, threatening his reign.

Royal prisoners were kept at Corfe Castle, including Eleanor, the daughter of Henry II.

While she was treated very well by the king, this could not be said of her knights housed there.

They were put in the oubliette, a place where prisoners were forgotten, and it is believed up to 22 of them starved to death there.

It was first privately owned under the reign of Elizabeth I, when Sir Christopher Hatton was entrusted with the castle having caught the Queen's eye and being a firm court favourite then took on the castle.

His title, Admiral of the Purbeck Fleet, allowed him to capture enemy ships, a form of licensed piracy.

It was later handed over to the Bankes family who supported King Charles I in his civil war battle.

Siding with the Cavaliers against the Roundheads was to turn out into a fateful decision for the castle.

Why was Corfe Castle destroyed?

After the Roundheads (often referred to as Parliamentarians) were victorious in the English Civil War, the writing was on the wall for the castle.

An Act of Parliament was passed in Wareham to destroy the castle soon after.

The order by Oliver Cromwell's government ended six centuries of Corfe Castle keeping enemies at bay.

Captain Hughes of Lulworth enacted his orders and his sappers dug deep holes and filled them full of gunpowder to bring the towers and ramparts crashing down.

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This shaped the castle as we see it today.

In 1982, Ralph Bankes gave Corfe Castle to the National Trust.

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