Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome to Corfe Castle - Dorset, UK

In 2010 I went to the UK on a holiday. One of the places we went to was Corfe Castle in Dorset. We loved this place, even though it was a ruin. There was a feeling all around it that many lives had been lived here (and many deaths as well). It was a fair walk along a wooded trail from the nominated car park, but it was so beautiful that we hardly noticed. We were serenaded by birdsong the whole way.

A King is murdered

Legend has it that in 978, before the present Castle was built, King Edward the Martyr was murdered at Corfe by his stepmother. She wanted to put her own son, Ethelred ‘the Unready’, on the throne. While stag hunting in the nearby Purbeck forest, Edward paid a visit to Corfe, here Elfryda apparently offered him a goblet of wine, then stabbed him in the back while he drank it. Now that just isn't nice.

The outer walls still surround the castle.
Many walls sit sadly askew on the landscape.

A castle is built

It was William the Conqueror who first started building Corfe Castle after his arrival in Britain in 1066. It was served by the surrounding community who in return were given shelter in the Castle in times of trouble. Much of the Isle of Purbeck was a Royal Forest so the hunting of game without royal permission was punishable by death.

You can see the thickness of the walls here.



The Castle is demolished

Lady Mary Bankes successfully defended the castle during a siege in 1643 after the death of her husband in the Civil War. During a second siege in 1646 a member of her garrison betrayed her which led to their capture. The victors deliberately demolished the castle leaving behind the dramatic ruin that now dominates the landscape. Much of the missing stone can be found in the houses of Corfe Castle Village.

Corfe Castle Village.
The view from the bottom of the hill.

The scale of the walls can make you feel very small.


Anonymous said...

Oh, how fantastic and sad at the same time. I can't wait to go back to England. I'm putting Corfe Castle on my to-do list.

Great post as always, Cass.
Tam :D

Allison Butler said...

Hi Cassandra,

Thanks for this fabulous post and for sharing your stunning photos. The ruins are magnificent!I love learning the history behind EVERY castle. Like Tam, I'll be adding Corfe Castle to my to-do list:)

Cassandra Samuels said...

Thanks Tam. When there you can see how it would have dominated the landscape.The guide was amazing too.

Cassandra Samuels said...

Great Alison. It is worth the trip. My husband really liked it. I admit I kept touching the walls as if I could soothe away its wounds. Silly I know but that was how I felt when I was there.

Allison Butler said...

'I admit I kept touching the walls as if I could soothe away its wounds. Silly I know but that was how I felt when I was there.'

Oh, Cassandra. Not silly at all. Beautiful! Now I want to go even more:) 'If only walls could talk'.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cass for a wonderful insight into the history behind this amazing castle.
We came upon Corfe quite accidently on a cloudy Saturday morning.And was excited as there was a Medieval Exhibition/Fair going on.
I fell in love with the little village too. Felt like I wanted to buy a place and move right in. I'd be at home :))

Cheryl Leigh said...

Another place to add to my must-visit list. Great photos! Thanks for an interesting post, Cassie.