This quaint and quirky village in the Isle of
Purbeck is dominated by the evocative ruins of
a huge medieval castle which is one of
Dorset’s major tourist attractions. Originally
made of wood, it witnessed the murder of the
teenaged Saxon King Edward the Martyr in 978AD
by his stepmother, Queen Aelfthryth.
It was rebuilt in Purbeck stone in the 11th Century and improved by both King John and Henry III but, during the Civil War, it was blown up by Cromwell’s roundheads. A model village has been created using the same local stone to show how the castle looked in its heyday.
Writer Enid Blyton turned the castle into a fictional fortress in her 1942 children’s book ‘Five on Treasure Island’ (1942). The village itself is separated from the castle by a large moat.