The imposing ruin of Corfe Castle, which dates back to the Norman period, is said to be haunted by a headless woman. She has been seen standing by the castle walls and near the ruined gatehouse.
One of the most recent sightings was in 1976, when she was seen hovering near the castle gates. The spirit is thought to be that of a young woman who betrayed the castle to Cromwell’s troops during the Civil War.
The castle was also the scene of the assassination of King Edward (Edward the Martyr) on the 18th March 978, on the orders of his scheming stepmother Queen Alfthryth. He was stabbed while still on horseback, then dragged along to his death by his horse. Edward was buried at Shaftesbury Abbey. The Queen Alfthryth’s son Athelred, was crowned in his place.
Corfe is also linked to William de Braose of Bramber Castle. He was at Mirabeau when Eleanor the “Fair Maid of Brittany” (1184 – 10 August 1241) was captured in 1203. Eleanor was taken to Corfe Castle where she remained a prisoner until her death in 1241, because she still had a valid claim to the throne. Williams own wife and child were starved to death at Corfe Castle afer he fell from favor.
Directions: Off the A351 between Wareham and Swanage.