The approach to Corfe Castle from Wareham
Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus
Medium: Ink wash on paper
The imposing ruins of Corfe Castle lie in a gap on the Purbeck Ridge between Wareham and Swanage. The Romans probably raised defence-works on this site which gave a commanding view over the hills of Dorset. The Castle, built from local stone, dates back to the 11th century and replaced an earlier ninth-century wooden structure.
In 975, on the orders of his step-mother, the 17 year old King Edward was murdered here. During the 13th century King John fortified the defences further and used it as a storehouse for his mounting treasures - and political prisoners! The next few centuries brought further structural improvements to the castle and still more murders and intrigues. Its demise came in 1646 when Parliament, viewing it as a Royalist stronghold throughout the English Civil War, ordered its destruction.