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Bolsover is situated seven miles east of Chesterfield in Derbyshire, off the A632 road. The approach from the north and the east is dominated by Bolsover's famous 17th century castle, built by the Cavendish family and visited by thousands of people each year. See Bolsover Castle.

Across the main road from the castle is a public house called the Hudson Bay, originally built as a house for his mother by Peter Fidler, a local lad who worked for the Hudson Bay Company in the 18th century as a surveyor. A thriving Peter Fidler Society still exists in Canada.

Much evidence of hundred years of coal-mining remain, including a magnificent model village for the miners. Craftsman-built, solid family houses surround a vast attractive green giving light and spaciousness to the occupants. Behind Sherwood Lodge is evidence of prehistoric habitation in Bolsover. Here are the remains of an Iron Age entrenchment which would have encircled the settlement, protecting its people from attack. This leads to an open space known today at Kitchin Croft, named after John Kitchin, a clay pipe maker of 1739. Pieces of clay pipe are still found and are known al fairy pipes, legend being that they were used by fairies under the earth.

This area must have been a hive of industry in the 17th and 18th centuries as blacksmiths and potters also practised their crafts here. A more unusual industry was that of making iron shoe buckles which were once quite famous . The local colliery closed in 1993. It's demise is represented at Bolsover Gateway by a gleaming metal sculpture of a fractured winding wheel. More recently the large Coalite plant has also closed. However Bolsover is attracting new residents, not only because it is no longer scarred by soot - black spoil heaps, but because it stands conviently close to the M1.

photo of bolsover church
Bolsover church
photo of bolsover memorial cross
Bolsover memorial cross
photo of white swan at bolsover
White Swan pub

Bolsover boasts many old public houses of which the White Swan doubled as the moot court from the Middle Ages until nearly the early 19th century. Bolsover received its market charter from Henry 111 in 1225,and the original grid pattern of streets is still discernible. On High Street today if you look carefully, clues to Bolsover's long association with agriculture can be seen. One or two typical 17th century farmhouses are still standing, plus a barn now used by the Catholic church. Other such buildings can be spotted, disguised behind picture windows and modern doors.

The church of St Laurence, with its 13th century tower, is situated at the end of High Street. Inside is the Cavendish chapel, which holds many monuments to the Cavendish family including the tomb of Charles Cavendish, son of the indomitable Bess of Hardwick, and his wife. At the foot of the steps to the chapel and in direct contrast to the sumptuousness of the Cavendish memorial, is a rough stone in memory of Huntingdon Smithson and his son, John, who were the architects of Bolsover Castle. The church was largely destroyed by fire in 1897, though the cavendish chapel survived. It was rebuilt and then damaged again by fire in 1960. It has again been restored.

Bolsover's old Market Place has been nicely pedestrianised and covered in a fine aggregate whose fawn colour manages to blend with both the white magnesium limestone walls of the surrounding buildings and the red clay of their roofs. Some of the older buildings have been sensitively restored and a tall modern cross has been placed at the centre of the Market Place.

See also :

Bolsover Castle

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