Surviving range of a 14th century fortified manor house, considerably altered subsequently. Built of roughly coursed ashlar with thatched roofs. Originally a first floor hall, but altered and extended in the 17th century.
Now owned and restored by The Landmark Trust. Available for holiday lettings.
Woodsford is on the Frome, between Wareham and Dorchester. Leland writes: “The castle of Woodesford upon the ryver of Frome, was sum tyme longging Guido Briente, and after to Stafford, and now to Strangwaise”. Coker says that in his time this castle was almost “ruinated”. It was a large and lofty structure, quadrangular in shape, with a square flanking tower at each corner; the E. and W. sides are gone, but there are some remains on the S., contained in a farm-house. The principal entrance was on the W., on which side is an ancient stone staircase, now reaching higher than the house owing to the removal of the battlements; there is also a small staircase in the S.E. corner, loopholed for bows and crossbows. On the W. are considerable traces of ruins, and there are remains of a ditch round the castle. The ground floor was vaulted; above it are what are called the King’s room, with a small oratory, and the Queen’s room, or Solar, which is provided with a squint into the chapel; there are also a hall and a guardroom with antechamber. The sole remaining tower is that at the N.E. corner, and is called the Beacon Tower.
This Castle was built by Guy de Brian, in the reign of Edward III. Its present possessor is Lord Ilchester, who has restored what was possible with great care. (Castles Of England, Sir James D. Mackenzie, 1896)
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