Holidays – Part 4

Hello all. The first three of these are sitting around in the archives from the last few months and this is part four, from our regular guest blogger, Rambler5319.

Today I visited the village of Corfe Castle. I’d planned a visit to the castle, a walk round the village and then a walk back to Swanage over the Purbeck hills. Corfe Castle is a Dorset village with a very special history to it. It was originally built by William the Conqueror! The castle was one of the first to be made from stone rather than wood & earth. It was sold by Elizabeth I and then sold on again, some 63 years later, to Sir John Bankes. As a royalist stronghold it was attacked during the Civil War by Parliamentary forces. On their second attempt, in 1645, they captured it and proceeded to demolish it. This explains why it looks a little run down as you walk round. Some of the walls are leaning at rather precarious angles.

I’d got a lift and been dropped off on the main road just north of the village. I walked in along a footpath with some interesting indicator signs – they fold down into a square post and you pull them up and out to read the info. Here’s just one of them.


Now I thought “Gong Farmer” – what on earth could that mean? Well if you read the detail you can see just what this guy had to do! Yep that’s right he cleaned out the royal toilets (all the no.2s of course) and then carried the stuff out into the fields to be used as manure. I’ll bet those fields had a bit of an odour, eh?

Here’s a view of the approach to the castle


And a bit further on


Here’s one of those walls leaning over. Forget Leaning Tower of Pisa – How is this NOT falling down??


After about an hour’s wander round the castle I made for the village itself and came across this sign


And just to the left was the actual shop with all the Enid Blyton stuff in. For those of you who don’t know, Enid Blyton allegedly based Kirrin Castle in the Famous Five books on Corfe Castle. However in one of her own letters written in 1962 she seems to suggest that is not the case. She writes of a visit to Jersey (in the Channel Islands) and of several times visiting an island off its coast where there was a castle which she wanted to put into a book so she did. And so now you know!

For those of you who missed out on The Famous Five books when you were younger the Five were: Julian, Dick & Ann with their cousin George and her dog Timmy. The first FF novel came out in 1942 and Noddy (with Big Ears & Mr Plod) and their adventures in Toyland followed in 1949. Remember Noddy when you were little?  I wonder if you remember what he did for a living? Yes that’s right, he was quite an enterprising guy – a self-employed taxi driver.

There then followed another 23 Noddy books and in 2008 Enid’s granddaughter (Sophie Smallwood) was commissioned to write a new book to celebrate 60 years of Noddy.

And then there was this chair


In 1937 Enid wrote a novel The Wishing Chair.

And just a bit further along on the same street, but totally unconnected, was this


The monument was put up as you can see some 36 years ago to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the murder of Edward (King of England).

Now in the days before we started numbering our kings (Henry I, II, III, IV etc) a king was given a name. For instance before Edward I (1272-1307) we’d had 3 other Edwards who’d been king: Edward the Confessor  (1042-1066), Edward the Martyr (975-978), Edward the Elder (899-925).

This memorial, as you can see, relates to Edward the Martyr. His story is interesting and begins with his father King Edgar (959-975) also known as Edgar the Peaceful who died aged 32. At the time Edgar was on his 3rd marriage (to Queen Aelfthryth) – yep 32 and married 3 times! Anyway it was believed that Edward was rightly the son of Edgar but not Queen Aelfthryth. Therefore some believed that Edward’s half-brother AEthelred (the Unready) had a more legitimate claim to the throne. (The AE at the beginning of his name is not quite strictly correct as it’s often shown with the letters joined – the right diagonal of the A being taken out and the rest of the A attached to the vertical of the E. Here is the Word Symbol – Æ – but I’m not sure how it will come out in WordPress. You’ll just have to imagine it if it doesn’t work.)

Anyway one day when Edward was visiting Queen Aelfthryth & AEthelred he was attacked and killed. At least three views on the reason for his killing have been put forward but none is conclusive so we’ll leave them. We do know that the martyr tag came from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle written some 60 or so years later in 1040. What is known is that he was attacked at or near the place where Corfe Castle stands but that he was buried about 5 miles away in Wareham – significantly, “without royal honours”. (He was succeeded by AEthelred the Unready who reigned for 38/9 years.)

And here’s the little village square in Corfe Catle


I headed down the hill to begin my walk. The path immediately led up hill. After about 15 mins I came across these guys.


I know what you’re thinking – are these llamas or alpacas? I think llamas as alpacas look noticeably smaller & chubbier but I am course prepared to be corrected by any llama/alpaca experts who might be reading this. Anyway there they were happily munching away in the field as I walked by.

I carried on walking (uphill). After about an hour I stopped to have a sandwich and a drink as it was pretty hot. A rambler walked past and I asked whether the top of the hill was just beyond the crest ahead of me and he said “Well not really, there’s a fair way to go to the top!” Little did I realise that by the time I got to the top of the hill it was just short of 3 miles!! And it had taken 2.5 hours!! Getting down the other side took just 30 mins. (I had noticed those brown contour line thingys on my OS map seemed to keep rising and that they were quite close together in places but never imagined the trek would be quite so energy sapping!)

Towards the end of walk, before hitting the outskirts of Swanage, the path looked like this


And after crossing that field I was less then an hour from home. It had been a brilliant day weather-wise and somewhat challenging walking-wise and now time to enjoy good soak in the bath to ease those weary legs!.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Alex Jones on October 22, 2014 at 19:22

    I remember reading the Wishing Chair. The Parliamentarians were bad tempered vandals who demolished a large section of my town of Colchester Roman walls after they won the siege of Colchester, fortunately the demolition people deliberately took their time so that most of the Roman Walls remains standing.


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