One of the most impressive ruins in Britain, Corfe Castle overlooks the appealing gray limestone village of the same name. The castle site guards a gap in the surrounding Purbeck Hills. The present ruins are of the castle built between 1086, when the great central keep was erected by William the Conqueror, and the 1270s, when the outer walls and towers were built. Cromwell's soldiers blew up the castle in 1646 during the Civil War, after a long seige during which its Royalist
chatelaine, Lady Bankes, led its defense.