Dorset is county of England that has many castles. These castles give insight into the lives of the owners and inhabitants during the Middle Ages. Here are a few Castles in Dorset:
Table of Contents
Highcliffe Castle is a mock-gothic castle house, standing on a headland 5 miles south west of Bournemouth, England. The castle was built by Sir Arthur Churchman in 1859 as his own home.
In 1920 the house was sold to Mrs Cecil Frances Humphreys (née Wilson) and her second husband Major William Frederick Humphreys, who had made their fortune from tin mining in Malaya. Mrs Humphreys died at Highcliffe in 1945 and gave the estate to the National Trust. From 1945 until her death in 1947 Mrs Humphreys lived at Highcliffe Castle with her daughter Lucy and son-in-law Colonel Edward Strutt of the Coldstream Guards.
Following Mrs Humphreys’ death the castle was let for a year to Noël Coward, then sold in 1950 to Mrs Beryl de Zoete, who possibly lives there as of 2005. The castle is listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England. It stands opposite Castle Hill and close to The Grange (bought by Sir Arthur Churchman from Miss Burdett Coutts) and Osborn House. It is not open to the public except at Easter and Christmas when candlelit tours are given.
Portland is an historic castle in the county of Dorset, England. It was constructed by Henry VIII to defend against a potential French naval attack. The Portland stone used for its construction originates from the quarries on Portland’s Isle of Portland Bill.
The area around what is now called Weymouth Harbour has been inhabited since time immemorial, and it was once part of Wyke Regis parish which also included Cadnam, Radipole and Chickerell. In 1330 this area became part of the manor of Upwey, then belonging to John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp (1310-1362).
Built in 1080 by William the Conqueror, Corfe Castle was a royal castle and was used as an important military stronghold for many years. It was the site of many battles throughout its history, including a siege during the Civil War. The ruins of the castle include walls, gates and dungeons. There is also a museum about the castle’s history and some interesting features from past renovations. This is one of my favourite Dorset Castles.
Lulworth Castle is a British stately home built on flat land with views across to Black Ven Mountain in Dorset. The house has been in the Luttrell family since 1385 and continues to be owned by descendants of Colonel John Luttrell, who built it between 1607-1625. The house was damaged during World War II but a restoration project restored it back to its former glory. Many people visit the castle and gardens today once a year on September 14 for the apple bobbing festival.
In the south of England, a stone’s throw away from the ‘oldest town in Britain’ are the ruins of Sherborne Castle, a building with an idyllic history.
In AD 940, Ælfgar obtained Sherborne as part of his marriage to his Irish bride Goda, daughter of King Eochaid mac Ardgail. Ælfgar was one of King Edward’s thanes and had also been married to Goda’s sister before her death four years earlier.
The castle was built on a triangular plateau of land close to the town and surrounded by a moat. The site was previously occupied by an Iron Age and Roman settlement. The first castle would have been small and wooden, but a stone structure was built here during the reign of William I. It featured an almost perfect hexagonal design and large ramparts which acted as a defence against attacking armies. It was also used for commanding the surrounding countryside and to control the access to the river valley beyond.
After King William’s death in 1087 his son, Robert Curthose inherited Sherborne Castle from his father.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about: