Corfe Castle is a defensive structure situated above the village sharing its name on the Isle of Purbeck peninsula in the county of Dorset, England.
Constructed by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, the castle occupies a strategic position within a gap in the Purbeck Hills along the route between Wareham and Swanage. Notably, during its initial phase, Corfe Castle stood out as one of the earliest stone-built castles in England, a departure from the prevalent use of earth and timber in castle construction during that period. Significant structural modifications occurred during the 12th and 13th centuries.
In 1572, Corfe Castle ceased being under Crown control as Elizabeth I sold it to Sir Christopher Hatton. Sir John Bankes became the owner in 1635 and held possession during the English Civil War. While Sir John Bankes was engaged in conflicts in London and Oxford, his wife, Lady Mary Bankes, took charge of defending the castle when it faced two sieges by Parliamentarian forces.
The first siege in 1643 proved unsuccessful, but by 1645, Corfe Castle stood as one of the last royalist strongholds in southern England, ultimately succumbing to a siege that concluded with an assault. In March of that year, Corfe Castle was intentionally damaged on the orders of Parliament. Today, it is safeguarded as a Grade I listed building and designated a Scheduled Monument.