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National Trust Corfe Castle

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One of Britain’s most majestic ruins, a 1000 year-old castle, rising above the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.

The oldest surviving structure on the castle site dates to the 11th century, although evidence exists of some form of stronghold predating the Norman Conquest. Edward the Martyr was assassinated at the site on March 18, 978.

Construction of a stone hall and inner bailey wall occurred in the 11th century and extensive construction of other towers, halls and walls occurred during the reigns of Henry I, John and Henry III. By the 13th century the castle was being used as a royal treasure storehouse and prison. The castle remained a royal fortress until sold by Elizabeth I in the 16th century to Sir Christopher Hatton her Lord Chancellor.

The castle was bought by Sir John Bankes, Attorney General to Charles I, in 1635. The castle served as a symbolic symbol of the Bankes Family for over 400 years and now belongs to the National Trust. It is a grade I listed building.

During the English Civil War, the castle twice came under siege by Parliamentarian forces. Sir John Bankes was away from his estate attending to Charles I so defence of the castle was led by his wife Lady Mary Bankes

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