Houses of Interest: Derbyshire
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.
What's there now?
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.
|One of the fireplaces has some nice ECW militaria embellishments|
|Anything Brussels can do, Bolsover can do better. In your face Mannekin Pis!|
|Colonel Charles Cavendish, on display in the Long Gallery|
The Marquis of Newcastle marched into the county in 1643 with minimal opposition; setting up camp in Chesterfield. Almost immediately, he turned his attention to the Parliamentarian garrison at Wingfield Manor. The vastly outnumbered garrison quickly surrendered after being on the end of a bombardment. Parliament would retake the Manor a year later – their bombardment causing considerably more damage to the house than the Royalist assault.
The ruins of Wingfield are just about still standing (the house all but collapsed in the C18th); cared for by English Heritage, the site is closed to the public as the ruins are deemed too dangerous. Its address is included for completeness only.
Newcastle would soon withdraw from the county and march back to York and Marston Moor.
Derbyshire was home to a number of garrisoned houses sympathetic to the crown: Bolsover Castle, Chatsworth, Welbeck Abbey, Tissington Hall, and the town of Bakewell. The horse garrisoned at Tissington and Bakewell would meet daily at Ashbourne from whence they raided villages, markets and farms for supplies. Gell would order 500 horse and dragoons under Captain Thomas Sanders to assist the siege at Biddlulph in neighbouring Staffordshire, the Royalist horse would attempt to stop them at Ashbourne.
Little is recorded of the encounter other than Sanders’ men knew of the Royalist plans and set a trap. The dragoons lined hedgerows, and the cavalry attacked the Royalists from the rear. The Royalists were routed through the town, 127 prisoners were taken and many killed. So bad was this rout that Tissington and Bakewell garrisons fled to Chatsworth and Wingfield.
Tissington Hall is now a wedding venue, but can still be toured by the general public on high days and holidays.Ashbourne has a large number of buildings of Tudor origin in the town centre and a gallows sign that linked two public houses. Other than that there is no evidence that a large skirmish/small battle took place here.
|Bakewell's C14th bridge|
Bakewell is a town divided: which of three shops was the originator of the Bakewell Pudding (absolutely nothing like the Mr Kipling offering)? The town is home to a C14th bridge that crosses the River Wye (home to some enormous trout who have grown fat on eating chips thrown to them by tourists), and a number of Tudor buildings that may well have witnessed some of the events.
To the south of the county in the village of Barton Blount is Barton Hall, which was garrisoned for Parliament in October 1644, under the command of Captain Nathanial Barton, in opposition to nearby Tutbury Castle. In August 1645 the garrison attacked the retreating Royalists fleeing from Naseby. The Royalists were marching from Tutbury to Ashbourne and were attacked from the rear by “a body of 500 of the enemies horse” (Richard Symonds’ diary). We aren’t too sure where this encounter took place. The Hall is now a private residence; it has, in the past, been possible to visit the gardens as part of the National Garden Scheme open days.
Staveley Hall was garrisoned for the King by John Frecheville in 1644: it wouldn’t last long as it was captured almost without a fight. Staveley Hall is run as a wedding and conference centre, it does have a café that is open to the general public.
Tutbury Castle was garrisoned by Henry Hastings, second son of the 5th Earl of Hunntingdon, for the King in late 1642/early 1643. Gell would receive intelligence that Hastings’ men were “devoured (of) all the provison they had” (John Gell’s “A True Relation…”) so set about besieging the castle, his men digging trenches. Gell’s intelligence was incorrect, Hasting had resupplied the garrison. Ireton and the Nottingham horse arrived and informed Gell that Newcastle was marching south to relieve Tutbury and the siege was abandoned. (Newcastle was marching south but was heading towards Leicestershire). Tutbury would eventually fall to Gell and Brereton in April 1646 after a three week siege. The castle would eventually be sleighted by order of Parliament.
|The folly built in 1780 upon the motte at Tutbury Castle|
Bretby Hall was garrisoned by the Earl of Chesterfield with 40 musketeers and 80 horse. Sir John Gell ordered it to be taken sending 400 men under Major Johannes Molanus who took the Hall in less than a day, before plundering the house. The current Hall dates from the early C19th, it is argued that some of the C17th defensive eartworks are still extant within the grounds. The Hall is now private apartments and is strictly private.
Weston Hall was garrisoned for Parliament, and controlled the land to the north of the traditional crossing point of the Trent. The southern bank of the Trent was held by the Royalists. A battle in 1644, to the south east of the Hall on land adjacent to the old river crossing and King’s Mill Lane, saw Gell take nearly 200 Royalist prisoners (see map for approximate location). Some of Parliament’s fallen are reputedly buried in nearby St Mary’s churchyard.
|The Cooper Arms at Weston Hall|
Weston Hall was never finished, the building clearly still shows the ‘work in progress’. The Hall is now a pub, The Cooper Arms at Weston Hall, which is a good enough reason to visit. What is now the bar is thought to have been used as stabling. On the wall in the carvery are the coats of arms of Charles I and Lord Huntingdon (these were trophies taken from Ashby Castle). Black Tom allegedly spent the night here, the pub has a Fairfax themed room as a result.
Castleton Garland Day is one of many celebrations peculiar to Derbyshire, always held on Oak Apple Day the 29th May (unless it falls on a Sunday). The celebration is supposedly in commemoration of the Restoration of Charles II.
|Chatsworth without the obligatory fountain in the foreground|
|The 1st Duke circa 1640s|
|How Chatsworth looked during the Wars|
Haddon Hall is a fortified Elizabethan manor house that has spectacular views across the local valley. Home to Sir John Manners, who inherited the title Earl of Rutland in 1641. Sir John was a moderate Parliamentarian who appears to have avoided any involvement in the Wars. Clearly his moderate approach paid dividends as he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire after the Restoration. The Wars appear to have passed Haddon by, untouched. It does not even appear to have been garrisoned. So why does it appear in the ECW travelogue? The Hall has a very small museum, which houses artefacts found in the 1920s by the 9th Duke of Rutland, along with some items that he collected.
Bolsover Castle S44 6PR