HALLOWEEN is here so to mark the occasion the Dorset Echo has delved into the 'haunted' history of one of the county's famous historic landmarks.

Dorset's Corfe Castle has been a Saxon stronghold, a Norman fortress, a royal palace and a family home over its ten centuries of life in the Purbeck Hills.

The historic site in 2021 is very much just ruins, but started out life in the early 12th century as a keep for King Henry 1, William the Conqueror's son.

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During the English Civil War the Bankes family defended it in two sieges against Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads.

Then after six centuries an act of Parliament was signed to destroy the castle, before it was then handed back to the Bankes family who owned it for three and a half centuries.

In 1982 Ralph Bankes gave the site to the National Trust, along with the family’s holdings in Purbeck.

Dorset Echo: Corfe Castle - Nick DeCianti

With so many years of history the site has picked up a few spooky tales from over the time it has existed.

The most famous tale is said to be of a figure of a headless lady who haunts the ground and whose mere shade ‘chills the blood’ of those who cross her.

The headless lady reportedly spotted is said to be the member of the Bankes family, Lady Bankes, who fought over two sieges during the Civil War only to be betrayed by one of her people in 1646, allowing Parliamentary soldiers to take over Corfe Castle.

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Sightings of this lady have mostly been seen by the castle gate based on reports from those who claim to have seen her, who say she then fades away into nothing.

Similarly there are stories of a weeping child from inside a cottage which is located next to the castle ruins as well as in the castle grounds, when there is no child around.

Reports claim this is the child of the 4th Lord of Bramber who was not liked by the king and as a result his wife and child were starved at Corfe Castle.

Many people over the years have also reported seeing strange, flickering lights moving about the grounds at night.

One potential explanation online for the lights is that these are the spirits of the Royalists killed defending the Dorset site against Cromwell’s men.

This year the castle was named in the top ten spookiest locations in the UK, with ghost hunters often taking an interest in the Dorset site.