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Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
This year, over selected days, our visitors will have the opportunity to meet our Storytellers and hear exciting tales and histories from Bolsover Castle. Attired in colourful costumes inspired by the castle’s history the volunteers will be telling a range of fantastic stories and anecdotes to our visitors. Don't be surprised if you bump into Margaret or William Cavendish themselves while walking the walled garden or exploring the terrace range...
William the Conqueror grants custody of his new castle at Nottingham and the large manor of Bolsover to one of his knights, William Peveril.
Find out more about the history of Bolsover Castle
Peveril’s son takes the wrong side against Henry II and forfeits his estates to the Crown.
A group of barons fight against King John after he refuses to accept the terms of Magna Carta. Bolsover Castle is besieged.
The garrison stands down and the buildings gradually fall into decay.
Bess of Hardwick’s son Charles Cavendish buys Bolsover and makes it his main residence.
Charles commissions Robert and John Smythson to build the Little Castle.
Charles’s son William inherits. He completes his father’s decoration of the lodge house and renovates the ‘old house’ with state apartments, a gallery and a hall.
Charles I, Henrietta Maria, their royal entourage and all of Nottinghamshire’s and Derbyshire’s gentry feast at Bolsover. They are entertained by Ben Jonson’s Love’s Welcome at Bolsover.
William is appointed commander-in-chief of the northern Royalist counties. After his wife dies and he loses the Battle of Marston Moor, he despairs and goes to Paris in exile.
The Parliamentary Council of State orders the slighting (deliberate destruction) of Bolsover to prevent it being used by Royalists.
William returns from abroad and buys back his estates. He grants Bolsover to his sons, who carry out repairs.
Bolsover passes through marriage to the Dukes of Portland. The Terrace Grange is unroofed, becoming a ruin that attracts antiquarian and artistic interest.
John Hamilton Gray becomes vicar of the parish. He and his family carry out alterations and repairs to the Little Castle, where they live as guardians.
The riding house becomes a drill room and theatre, and the castle yard a bowling green and tennis court.
Massive cracks from slipping limestone bedrock threaten the castle's stability. A nearby Coalite plant damages the stonework with acidic pollution.
The Ministry of Works takes over, stabilising the structures and gradually opening the site to the public.
Learn more about the history of Bolsover Castle.