The Church of St. Edward the Martyr was the 13th century parish church for Corfe Castle village in Dorset. It stands on a raised area off the village square, near the entrance to the ruins of Corfe Castle after which the village is named.
The church is named after King Edward who was assassinated on the site of Corfe Castle in 978, reputedly on the orders of his step-mother. It is said that the church stands on the site of a blind woman's cottage in which the kings body was taken after he was killed. The Kings coffin now rests in the Church on the Wall in Wareham, but his body was taken to Shaftesbury Abbey in 1001 after reported miracles and a dream.
Edward was the son of King Edgar's first wife, Ethelfleda, who died before Edgar did. Edgar then married Aelfthryth who bore him Ethelred. Edward became king on the death of Edgar in 975, but Aelfthryth contested this wishing her son Ethelred to take the throne. His murder in 978 cleared the throne for Ethelred the Unready (Redeless).
During the English Civil War in the 17th century Parliamentary gunners occupied the church and removed lead from the roof to make shot. The damage was not repaired and the church gradually fell into disrepair. Only the tower of the current church building dates from the 13th century. The rest is a 19th century Gothic church.
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