Bolsover Castle seen from below with the Little Castle protruding above the rest of the castle
|Town or city||Bolsover, Derbyshire|
|Country||England, United Kingdom|
Bolsover Castle is a castle in Bolsover, Derbyshire, England (grid reference SK471707). It was founded in the 12th century by the Peverel family, who also owned Peveril Castle in Derbyshire, and it came under royal control in 1155. The site is now in the care of English Heritage and is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
It was built by the Peverel family in the 12th century and became Crown property in 1155 when William Peverel the Younger died. The Ferrers family who were Earls of Derby laid claim to the Peveril property.
When a group of barons led by King Henry II's sons – Henry the Young King, Geoffrey Duke of Brittany, and Prince Richard, later Richard the Lionheart – revolted against the king's rule, Henry spent £116 on building at the castles of Bolsover and Peveril in Derbyshire. The garrison was also increased to a force led by 20 knights and shared with the castles of Peveril and Nottingham during the revolt. John ascended to the throne in 1199 after his brother Richard's death. William de Ferrers maintained the claim of the Earls of Derby to the Peveril estates. He paid John 2000 marks for the lordship of the Peak, but the Crown retained possession of Bolsover and Peveril Castles. John finally gave them to Ferrers in 1216 to secure his support in the face of country-wide rebellion. However, the castellan Brian de Lisle refused to hand them over. Although Lisle and Ferrers were both John's supporters, John gave Ferrers permission to use force to take the castles. The situation was still chaotic when Henry III became king after his father's death in 1216. Bolsover fell to Ferrers' forces in 1217 after a siege. It was then allowed to deteriorate into a ruin.
The manor and castle were purchased by Sir George Talbot in 1553. They were sold by Gilbert, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury to Sir Charles Cavendish, son of Bess of Hardwick in 1608. Sir Charles set about re-building the castle, a process which was continued by his son William Cavendish, later 1st Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne. Despite its embattled appearance, it was designed for elegant living rather than for defence. The tower, known today as the 'Little Castle', was completed around 1621.
During the Civil War Bolsover Castle was taken by the Parliamentarians who slighted it and it again fell into a ruinous state. However William Cavendish added a new hall and staterooms to the Terrace Range and, by the time of his death in 1676, the castle had been restored to good order. It passed through the female line into the Bentinck family, and ultimately became one of the seats of the Dukes 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.
Bolsover Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a "nationally important" historic building and archaeological site which has been given protection against unauthorised change. It is also a Grade I listed building (first listed in 1985) and recognised as an internationally important structure.
- Eales 2006, p. 23
- Eales 2006, p. 24
- Fry 1980
- "Bolsover Castle", Pastscape (English Heritage), retrieved 2012-04-17
- "Scheduled Monuments", Pastscape (English Heritage), retrieved 2012-04-17
- Bolsover Castle, Heritage Gateway, retrieved 2012-04-17
- "Frequently asked questions", Images of England (English Heritage), retrieved 2012-04-17
Further reading 
- Worsley, Lucy (2010) , Bolsover Castle (revised ed.), London: English Heritage, ISBN 978-1-85074-762-8
- Worsley, Lucy (May 2004). "Changing Notions of Authenticity: Presenting a Castle Over Four Centuries". International Journal of Heritage Studies 10 (2): 129–149. doi:10.1080/13527250410001692868.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bolsover Castle|
- Bolsover Castle page on English Heritage's official site
- Gatehouse Gazetteer record for Bolsover Castle, containing a comprehensive bibliography
- Photographs around the Castle
- Unofficial site with History and photos of Bolsover Castle