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Corfe Castle

Hob Uid: 456826
Location :
Dorset
Corfe Castle
Grid Ref : SY9590082300
Summary : The earliest visible features comprise the late 11th century fragments of a hall in the west bailey and the wall surrounding the inner ward. The ashlar built keep is dated to circa 1105 and the 'Gloriette' is an early 13th century courtyard mansion with 15th century addition which was built to supplement or replace accomadation in the keep. The enciente retains a defensive system of walls and murial towers mainly of the early and late 13th century. During the Civil War the castle was besieged and slighted. Foundations of a possible pre Conquest building revealed in excavation in the west bailey possibly represents either a 'hospitium' belonging to Shaftesbury Abbey or a royal palace or residence associated with King Edward who was murdered at 'Corfegeat' in 978. This is a Scheduled Monument.
More information : (SY 959823) Corfe Castle (NR) (Remains of) (1)

Corfe Castle, of strategic and military importance was built on a large natural mound overlooking the gap in the Purbeck Hills. (2)

The foundations of a possible pre-Conquest building were revealed during excavations in the west bailey, 1950-52, and possibly represent either a 'hospitium' belonging to Shaftesbury Abbey or a royal residence associated with King Edward, who was murdered at 'Corfegeat' in 978 AD. (3). The earliest visible features of the castle, however, comprise late 11th century fragments of a hall in the west bailey and the wall surrounding the inner ward. The ashlar-built keep is dated to circa 1105 AD and the 'Gloriette' is an early 13th century courtyard mansion with 15th century addition, which was built to supplement or replace accomodation in the keep.

The enciente (outer bailey) retains a defensive system of walls and mural towers mainly of the early and late 13th century. During the Civil War the castle was besieged and slighted. Grade 1. Plan (2).

(For full descriptive account of the castle remains and earthworks see RCHM). (3)

A brief account of the castle (4) and concise architectural report (5).

Corfe Castle. Ruins of former royal castle, built on a natural hilltop in a gap in the main Purbeck range. Late C11 origin - possibly on an earlier pre-Conquest site, altered and enlarged in C12, C13 and C14. The Keep refurbished as a house in mid-C16 and the whole structure slighted and largely demolished after the Civil War. The fortified enclosure roughly triangular in plan. The curtain walls survive in part, with the bases of semi-circular towers. Surviving walls part ashlar, part rough ashlar, part rubble. Outer Gatehouse, at south end, approached by a 4-arch stone bridge over the now dry moat. Gatehouse consists of a segmental archway flanked by bases of 2 circular towers, linked to curtain wall. Inner, south-west Gatehouse, south of the surviving structures, consists of 2 circular towers flanking a pointed segmental archway. On the left, this has dropped several feet following undermining after the Civil Wr. At north-west of the site, the remains of the Old Hall, late C11. Lower walls of this survive, with some herringbone masonry and part blocked round arched openings. At west end, remains of the Butavant Tower, early C13. Near the centre, the Keep, C12, square on plan, originally 3-storeyed - an extra storey inserted in C13. Altered in mid-C16 by Sir Christopher Hatton, - remains of Tudor windows and fireplaces survive. North of the Keep, large blocks of fallen masonry. West of the Keep, the Gloriette, a C13 first-floor hall house, with Hall and Solar over an originally vaulted undercroft. Several lancet windows survive, with deep roll mouldings. In spite of much destruction, still an impressive structure, dominating the village. A National Trust property. - Grade I (6,7)

Listed by Cathcart King. (8)

Additional reference. (9)

Corfe was a major royal castle, not necessarily for its strategic value, but more for its convenience as a stronghold for the safe custody of political prisoners, important hostages and royal treasure. Detailed account of the history of the castle as a royal stronghold. (10)

There is a bastion-like structure salient from the south front of the shell wall. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1960
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Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset. Volume two : south-east [in three parts]
Source details :
Page(s) : 57-78
Figs. : FIGS, PLAN
Plates : ILLUST
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Source Number : 11
Source : Fort : the international journal of fortification and military architecture
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Page(s) : 55
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Vol(s) : 15, 1987
Source Number : 11A
Source : Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club
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Page(s) : 76
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Vol(s) : 73, 1951
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pits A1, B1, C1, D1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation, Wall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit III and IIIN, Section C-D, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Plan, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pits C1, EII, EIII, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit C1 W, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation, Middle Ward, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle West Bailey Hall Excavation, Dorset
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Source Number : 3
Source : Historic towns in Dorset
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Page(s) : 44-45
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit EII, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit EI, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Pit A1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit F1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit EIII, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle West Bailey Hall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation AI, AII, BI, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavations, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Pit `Q', Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Internal Face of Excavated Building, Dorset
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (Morley BM)
Page(s) : 54-8
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Vol(s) : 140: 1983
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle West Bailey Hall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Internal Wall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation C-D, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation E - F, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit C3, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation G-H, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit Q, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit X1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Middle Ward, south side
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit A1 and A2, Dorset
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Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Clark GT 1884. Military Architecture in England. London: Wyman and Sons 461-73
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Pit B1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Exercise `A', Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit D1, B1, A1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit XII and DII, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavations, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Structural Remains, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pits A1 and A2, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit DI, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Internal Face of Excavated Building, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavations, Dorset
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Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Purbeck District, Dorset Mar-1986
Page(s) : 47
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit A2, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation/section
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle, Dorset
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Source : RCHM: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit EII West, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit D1, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation South Wall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle West Bailey Hall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle West Bailey Hall, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit EIII, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit C1, Dorset
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Source : Dorset
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Page(s) : 161-6
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit DI and II, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Excavation Pit BII, Dorset
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Source : RCHME: Corfe Castle Inner Ward, Dorset
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Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
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Page(s) : 126-7
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Source Number : 9
Source : English Heritage book of castles
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Page(s) : 48,51,53,126
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Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
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Page(s) : 616-624
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Late Saxon
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 871
Monument Type : Guest House, Royal Palace
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C11
Monument End Date : 1099
Monument Start Date : 1067
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built c1105
Monument End Date : 1115
Monument Start Date : 1095
Monument Type : Keep
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built early C13th
Monument End Date : 1232
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : House, Curtain Wall, Angle Tower, Interval Tower, Gatehouse
Evidence : Extant Building, Demolished Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C13th
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1267
Monument Type : Curtain Wall, Interval Tower, Angle Tower, Gatehouse
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C15th addition
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Civil War
Monument End Date : 1649
Monument Start Date : 1642
Monument Type : Bastion Outwork
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Slighted after Civil War
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1649
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Demolished Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DO 1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Dorset)
External Cross Reference Number : 10
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 109274
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 21960
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SY 98 SE 30
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1883-01-01
End Date : 1883-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1950-01-01
End Date : 1959-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1985-01-01
End Date : 1985-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1986-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1991-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE, INNER WARD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : PHOTOGRAMMETRIC SURVEY
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE GLORIETTE, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, SOUTH-WEST GATEHOUSE, CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NMP:WILD PURBECK
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT CORFE CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2018-01-01
End Date : 2018-12-31