Bolsover Castle

Derbyshire, England

City/Town/Village: Bolsover
District: Bolsover
County: Derbyshire
Latitude/Longitude: 53.2311, -1.29539
Postcode: S44 6PR
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)


English Heritage

Accomodation Links

Hotels and Guest Houses in Bolsover
There's a fairytale quality to Bolsover Castle that makes it a firm favourite with anyone looking for a great value day out in the East Midlands. Highlights include the sumptuously painted walls and ceilings of the Little Castle, intricately carved fireplaces and the magnificent indoor Riding School. There is plenty to do for all the family in the Discovery Centre with its fascinating audio-visual displays, and extensive grounds to explore with lots of green space for a family picnic. And with panoramic views over the Vale of Scarsdale, Bolsover has everything you need for a fun day out in Derbyshire.
Adults: £7.40
Children: £3.70
Concessions: £6.30
EH Member Cost: Free

Information from English Heritage website

Bolsover Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:

16/58 (West Side)
Bolsover Castle

Country House. C17. The keep was built 1612-21 for Sir Charles Cavendish, in a
medievalizing style. The architects were probably Robert and John Smythson.
Additional ranges c1627-42 by John Smythson; c1635-42 probably by Huntingdon
Smythson. Later alterations. Coursed squared limestone and ashlar, from
quarries at Bolsover, Bolsover Moor and Shuttlewood. Tiled roofs and roofs
hidden behind parapets. Square keep with enclosed forecourt at the north west
end of the complex, Fountain Garden enclosed by massive walls, angled Terrace
Range to south west, return Riding School Range, and return wall enclosing the
Inner Court. The keep is square in plan and rises to three storeys over a semi-
basement. Square projecting angle turrets and larger square stair tower in the
north east corner. Moulded plinth, moulded band at the base of each storey, and
battlemented parapet. Pyramid caps on the turrets. South elevation of five
symmetrical bays. Full-height, square, projecting porch bay. Long straight
flight of stone steps lead up to the keyed round-arched entrance on the piano
nobile. Latticework balustrade. The window above has a pediment on banded half-
columns. Corbelled out balcony. Mullioned cross window above again. Central
bay flanked on each side by two 2-light mullioned windows to the basement; two
2-light mullioned windows above and above again, with two transoms; and two
stone cross windows above again. The side elevations of four and five bays have
similar fenestration, mostly with cross-windows. The stair tower rises higher
than the main building and has single-light windows with recessed and chamfered
surrounds, placed at alternate hights corresponding to the rise of the staircase.
Forecourt to the south enclosed by walls and four square towers, two flanking
the entrance. These towers are battlemented and have prominent pinnacles
rectangular windows with raised surrounds. Central entrance flanked by t
piers. Double flight of stairs across the front, each with a half-landing
Interior of the keep: The principal rooms on the piano nobile are rib-vau the piers are classical columns. Bosses with scrolly ornamentation. Fire
with highly unusual projecting canopy heads with bold Jacobean panelled
decoration. The overall character of the decoration is medievalizing. Ba
kitchen and service rooms. On the ground floor the main hall and the Pil
Parlour. The hall is entered from a vestibule and has two pillars; the P
Parlour is entered from the other side of the vestibule, and between them is a
service stair. The hall has a fireplace with medievalizing ogee arch, but based
on designs in Serlio's Book VII. Panelling and lunettes painted with the Labours
of Hercules, added after 1617. Panelling in the parlour derived from Elizabethan
panelling at Theobalds, drawn by John Smythson in 1618. Vault bosses like horses
heads. Gothic windows inserted in 1834. The Anteroom has lunettes painted with
figure subjects after Martin de Vos and an architectural scene. The two
principal rooms on this floor are of different heights, giving space for the Star
Chamber above. The Star Chamber has arcaded panelling with painted figurs of
the prophets and in the window reveals of saints, and stars on the ceiling.
Three-tier fireplace, the most elaborate in the keep. The Marble Closet over the
porch has a black and white colour scheme. Sir William's private suite fills the
south side and is ranged around an internal lobby. Best bedchamber, Elysium and
Heaven rooms; all with Italian Mannerist style decoration. The top floor has a
central octagonal lobby surrounded by arched niches.
The Fountain Garden to the south is enclosed by massive wall incorporating some
medieval masonry of the inner bailey walls. Garden rooms set in the thickness of
the walls, some vaulted and with fireplaces. In the centre of the Garden the
Venus Fountain adapted from a design by John Smythson.
To the south west is the angled Terrace Range. At the north end are the
Cavendish Appartments, of two storeys over a basement. Two plus four bays, and
two storeys over a basement. The first two bays are angled and have a Dutch
gable. Blocked 2-light window to the basement and two cross windows to each
floor above. The four bays to the right have similar fenestration and a large
rusticated and pedimented doorway. Between the windows are strange buttresses
or banded half-columns, rising from corbels. The main range to the right is of
one storey over a basement and is symmetrical, of ten bays with a central
doorway with banded rustication. Large cross windows with curious pediments
broken into three pieces, and divided by similar banded half-columns. Double
flight of steps up to the main entrance. At the south west end is one half of
the south west gate, with vermiculated rustication, half a segmental pediment and
a banded ball finial. The elevation to the Inner or Great Court has a
battlemented range at the south end, with tall cross windows and low rectangular
windows above, all with classical moulded architraves. The northern part has an
irregular row of six Dutch gables. Cross windows and tall windows with two
transoms. Two-light mullioned windows to the basement and in the gables. The
interior of this derelict range had the Great Gallery running along the full
height of the south side, and behind it facing into the court, a bedchamber,
withdrawing room, hall and great hall/dining room. Service rooms and private
appartments at the north end.
The Riding School range has on both sides a row of gabled dormers with
alternating triangular and segmental pediments. Elevation to the court of 3-5-7
bays, almost symmetrical. The centre part containing the riding school itself,
projects forward on both sides. In the court there is a massive central entrance
or triumphal gateway, heavily rusticated and with a broken segmental pediment
enclosing a ball finial. Flanked by pairs of large cross windows with moulded
architraves. Two-light mullioned windows to the dormers. A similar composition
to the right hand part, with five symmetrical bays plus two additional bays. A
second triumphal gateway. This part housed the forge. Three bay range at the
east end, with three tiers of 2-light mullioned windows. Various small chambers
The forecourt of the present keep stands on the foundations of the medieval
castle of c1173-9. In 1553 it was granted to George Talbot, later Earl of
Shrewsbury and the husband of Bess of Hardwick.
Sources:Bolsover Castle by P.A. Faulkner, English Heritage Handbook.
Robert Smythson & the Elizabethan Country House by Mark Girouard, Yale
University Press 1983.

Listing NGR: SK4702970718

Information from British Listed Buildings

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