Posted by: travelrat | August 1, 2016

Bolsover Castle

Bolsover Castle 1

Bolsover Castle: 14th June 2016

One of the advantages of my English Heritage card is that I can break up a long car journey with a visit to one of their many properties. This time, it was the turn of Bolsover Castle, in Derbyshire.

It’s not really a ‘castle’, as it was built as late as the 17th Century — but on the site of an older castle, founded in the 12th Century by the Peveril family. Since it was, originally, a true defensive work, it commands a fine view of the surrounding countryside. The ruins of this provided the base for the Little Castle, begun in 1612 by Charles Cavendish and built on the lines of a Norman Great Tower.

Charles died in 1617, and his son William inherited the almost complete Little Castle. He finished the work, and decorated the interior with wall paintings and ornate fireplaces. William was a highly though-of member of the Royal Court, and entertained Charles I and his queen here.

When the Civil War broke out, William fought on the Royalist side. He was defeated at the battle of Marston Moor, and fled into exile. When he returned after the Restoration in 1660, King Charles II created him Duke of Newcastle. He did a lot of rebuilding work on his castle, and built the Riding House, where he practised his own methods of training horses. His book on the subject is still, I believe, studied by the equestrian fraternity to this day.

The custodians of the castle hold displays of horsemanship and dressage here at weekend … alas, we didn’t see these, because it was Monday. But, we have an excellent excuse for a return visit.

Bolsover Castle


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