Houses of Interest: Derbyshire

Bolsover Castle: mmmm, I hear you say. Besieged? Nope. Battle of? Nope. Home of William Cavendish the Marquis of Newcastle, and commander of the King's northern army? You'd be correct.

Okay, so there wasn't a big dust up here in the seventeenth century, but if you get a chance to visit, it's well worth it.

Like several grand houses in Derbyshire, Bolsover had a Royalist garrison, which was a bit of a thorn in the Parliamentarian side. Troops from the garrison venturing out to disrupt Parliamentarian activities, and gather supplies. On one occasion an "agent" was sent to Derby to sow discord and incite rioting.

Home to the Cavendish family, William entertained King Charles and his Queen, Henrietta.  William was an accomplished horseman, and was to become Charles II's riding instructor.

A castle existed on this site from the eleventh century; Charles Cavendish, and then his son William, undertaking a major rebuild in the early seventeenth century.

After the defeat at Marston Moor, Newcastle fled to the continent, and Parliamentarian forces moved into Bolsover. In 1649 The Parliamentary Council of State ordered the slighting of Bolsover to prevent it being used as a defensive military structure.

The castle is now cared for by English Heritage. So expect the obligatory café and shop selling chutney and toy swords.

So what's there to see?

The stable block is most impressive, fans of exposed roof beams will be ecstatic. During the spring and summer, there are demonstrations of Stuart riding techniques in the stable block. Think of it as Derbyshire's very own interpretation of Vienna's Spanish Riding School. But smaller. And with only one horse.

Part of the stable block has interpretive panels explaining why the castle is in the condition it is in, life in the castle in the seventeenth century, and William Cavendish's relationship with the royal households.

The house built by Charles and William is now just walls. Keep the small people occupied by seeing how many jacks (keeping the walls up), and how many survey markers they can spot.

The Little Castle is intact, and shows seventeenth century decor off nicely, having been restored by William's children.

One of the fireplaces has some nice ECW militaria embellishments

Adjacent to the Little Castle is a walled garden, with a central fountain.

Anything Brussels can do, Bolsover can do better. In your face Mannekin Pis!

There are a number of car parks serving the castle, all located on Castle Street. two adjacent to the pub (one of which is purely for castle visitors), further dedicated castle parking on the right just after the entrance to the castle (English Heritage signage), and a further car park located near the fire station.

Okay, not a 'house of interest', a church: St Mary's Church Wirksworth. Really interesting church with Anglo Saxon carvings from an earlier church on the site. Parliament's man in Derbyshire is buried here - Sir John Gell.

Postcodes for SatNavs
Bolsover Castle S44 6PR
St Mary's Church, Wirksworth DE4 4DQ 

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