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St Edward the Martyr Church

Visit Corfe Castle's historic Church

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St Edward the Martyr Church interior photo, Corfe, Purbeck, Dorset


Named after St Edward the Martyr, the Saxon King who was murdered on 18th March 978 on the orders of Queen Alfthryth, his stepmother. According to legend his body was hidden in a hovel where a blind woman discovered it. Her sight was restored when she found the body of the King and this is where the church stands.

Dating from the 12th Century

The original Church was built around the 12th century. This early church consisted of a nave, chancel, a narrow north aisle and a large north porch which was enlarged during the 13th century with an additional aisle.
The tower was built between the late 14th or early 15th century by the Beaufort family, who were Constables at Corfe castle during this time. There has been a clock on the tower for over 400 years and the present one dates from 1864.
The font dates to about 1450 and is made of Purbeck Marble.

Civil War in Corfe

During the Civil War (1642-1646), Parliamentary troops used the church as stabling for their horses and men. Much damage was caused – the church records were burnt, the door was used in battle and masonry was used as target practice. You can still see shot marks both inside and outside the church. Read more about the history of Corfe and its castle.

Restored in the 19th Century

In 1859-60 a major restoration of the church took place and all the walls were pulled down and rebuilt, apart from the tower. Galleries that had been installed in the 18th century were removed and the church was re-roofed. The east window was replaced and all the chest tombs removed to create more space. The interior you see today is the result of this Victorian makeover. Prior to 1859, the church had large tombs in both the north and south aisles but today there remains only a segment of one of these in the Lady Chapel incised with the lettering “Robt Abbot Gent Donr here-of” and two remnants set in houses down West Street).
The piscina in the Lady Chapel was given to the church in 1942 when the church was refurbished again. It was believed to have been found in the village and is thought to date from the late 13th or early 14th century.

Read more about Corfe Village or find out more about visiting Corfe Castle.



East St, Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5EQ



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