|Moonlight on the Chapel Ruins|
There is evidence in the village of a civilization that existed in 6000 BC; as well as Celtic habitation circa 1300 BC; and of course, the Romans circa AD 50. There is a legend which Tomas Hardy recorded concerning the disappearance of an entire Roman legion, with of course, only its ghost remaining; leading to the conclusion that a massive battle must have taken place between the Celts and the Romans which later resulted in the demise of the Celts. Early in the fifth century, after the Romans left, the Vikings and the Saxons occupied this area until AD 1090 when the Norman Conquest occurred. Today, as you leave Corfe Castle towards Church Knowle village, you may want to stop at Cromwell's Battery, also known as The Rings. This fortification, or Battery, was a ring and bailey castle. The higher, inner ring was a stronghold. The bailey was the storage and working area surrounded by fences. The rings are believed to be the site of a siege castle built by King Stephen in 1139 AD in an unsuccessful attempt to regain control of Corfe Castle when he claimed the throne form the House of Blois and Civil War ensued.