Corfe Castle was one of the first stone castles in England and of great importance throughout history. It sits above the village of the same name in Dorset, atop a hill. It was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, on a site where there was once an old Saxon hall; it is thought that it was where King Edward the Martyr disappeared while visiting his step-mother Aelfthryth in November of 978. The castle was often in use and was near the royal hunting forest of Purbeck. Many kings added to it: Henry I built a stone keep by 1105, and John and Henry III added halls, walls, and towers. During the War between Stephen and Matilda, it withstood a siege by King Stephen. During the Wars of the Roses, Edmund Beaufort used it as a holdfast. In 1572, Elizabeth I sold it to her Lord Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton. His family sold it in 1635 to Sir John Bankes, Attorney General of Charles I. During the English Civil War, Parliamentary forces struggled to invade it, and once succeeding, mostly demolished it. After 1660, with the restoration of the monarchy, the Bankes family regained the castle and in the 1980’s, bequeathed it to the National Trust. It is now open to visitors.