A Civil War summer

An English Civil War re-enactment at Corfe Castle

From the table to the battlefield, all 17th-century life is here as the English Civil War pitches camp in Corfe Castle this summer.

Time Traveller’s Kitchen, weekends in July, is just the thing to whet your appetite.

Our 17th-century chefs use ingredients from Purbeck’s land, sea and sky to conjure up authentic culinary delights.

Civil War Encampment, daily from from Saturday 28 July to Sunday 2 September, brings you face to face with the reality of a time when conflict split the kingdom and a visit to the surgery meant dicing with death.

Battle lines

From 1642-51 England was embroiled in a civil war between Parliament and King Charles I as battle lines were drawn over which of them had the right to govern.

The struggle proved a fateful one for Corfe Castle. A royalist stronghold, it held out against two sieges by enemy forces before treachery forced its surrender.

Vengeful Parliamentarians then ordered its destruction, turning an ancient Norman fortress into the tumbledown ruin we know today.

The English Civil War was bound up in a wider religious conflict which engulfed Europe in the 16th and 17th-centuries.

By the time it was over it had spread to every corner of what is now the United Kingdom, the King was dead and the course of history had changed forever.

Daily life

Yet although the war was the bloodiest ever fought on British soil, for the majority of the population daily life went on much as normal, as you’ll discover.

  • Test your aim on the musketry range,
  • Try your hand at being a 17th-century surgeon
  • Turn raw wool into yarn for making clothes using a drop spindle

Time Traveller’s Kitchen and Civil War Encampment are free events but normal admission prices apply – free to members of the National Trust.