From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Bolsover Castle
53° 13' 49.4" N 1° 17' 44.0 W
SK 471707

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Bolsover Castle is in Bolsover, Derbyshire. It was built by the Peverel family in the 12th century but they lost the castle in 1152 to King Henry. A stone Keep was built in 1173, surrounded by a curtain wall with an outer bailey. The castle may have looked like the castle at Castleton, Derbyshire, as it was owned and built by the Peverels. The outer wall was breached in 1216 during the reign of King John. The castle garrison gave a good account even when one of the towers in the wall was breached. Repairs were made by 1223. This was the last siege, the castle then was built up to impress rather than for defence.

By the fourteenth century the castle was let to many people, who stripped it of valuable material for profit. The castle was purchased by Sir George Talbot in 1553 and then sold on to Charles Cavendish in 1608, who set about rebuilding it. He died in 1617, four years after the rebuilding Bolsover had begun. It was taken over by is son, William, until his death in 1676. The tower, known today as the 'Little Castle', was completed around 1621. William completed the interior of the tower, built the riding house and stables and the terrace range. King Charles I, in 1634 was treated to an extravagant show and entertainment at the castle.

During the civil war, William was a Royalist leader, a commander, of the army north of the river trent. Suffering a crushing defeat at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he lost the north of England to the Parliamentarians. He then fled to the Continent. In 1645 the Parliamentarians started building redoubts to bombard the castle with canon fire. The castle surrendered before any damage could be done. In 1949 the castle was slighted, the surrounding walls and towers destroyed. The tower was not harmed, but the doors replaced with insubstantial ones. After the war, William Cavendish eventually returned, being awarded the title of Duke by King Charles II in 1665. He set about restoring the castle. He died on Christmas day 1676 aged 83.

The castle passed through the female line three times, ending up with the Duke of Portland. After 1883 the castle was uninhabited and eventually given to the nation by the 7th Duke of Portland in 1945. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.