The Castle

First line of defence

English Civil War Society re-enactment at Corfe Castle © Neil Davidson/National Trust

English Civil War Society re-enactment at Corfe Castle

The Outer Bailey is where most of our living history events take place - including battle re-enactments, medieval cookery and more.

During the English Civil War its imposing walls kept Roundheads at bay during two sieges.

The dramatic events of 1643-46 made a Royalist heroine of Corfe's lady of the manor, Mary Bankes.

Medieval murder mystery

The West Bailey, where Edward the Martyr is said to have been murdered © Jon Bish/National Trust

The West Bailey, where Edward the Martyr is said to have been murdered

The West Bailey is guarded by the imposing South West Gatehouse and contains the oldest surviving section of the castle.

It was here in 978AD that a Saxon boy king is said to have died a violent death on the orders of his stepmother.

What happened next is the stuff of legend, and inspires religious devotion to this day.

Power and glory

The towering keep was once a seat of royal power. © Will Wilkinson/National Trust

The towering keep was once a seat of royal power.

With its towering keep, the inner ward is a potent symbol of medieval power.

Corfe's importance to the Normans is underlined by the presence of a purpose-built royal residence, the gloriette, and stonework of exceptional quality.

The most striking example is to be found high on the keep in the form of a pelican.

A boy with his Castle Quest medal © National Trust/Martin Franks

A boy with his Castle Quest medal

Castle Quests

Explore the castle and its history on a free family-friendly Castle Quest.

Activity booklets are available at the ticket office and there's a prize for every quest completed.

The booklet is packed with things to do including quiz questions, brass rubbings and join-the-dots.

Castle Quests are self guided and are available every day.

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