Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Well we don’t really have one to spare but here at Bolsover Castle we have two Castles within the same Castle walls.
There was a medieval castle on this site in the 12 century but the one (sorry two) you see today are the result of the vision of the Cavendish family in the early 1600’s. Charles Cavendish (son of Bess of Hardwick) commenced the building project but it was substantially completed by his son William Cavendish.
Bolsover Castle was never intended as a fortress but more a large statement of power and wealth, its elevated position commanding grand panoramas over the surrounds. Under the influence of William it also became a pleasure and leisure palace incorporating much that he was interested in.
The main Terrace Range, now a shell, contained the Long Gallery, Grand Hall and State Rooms plus of course all the usual support services to maintain such a large castle…and most importantly for William it includes in the south wing an Indoor Riding School to support his passion for horsemanship and husbandry. Even these empty shells of rooms convey a powerful impression of the main Castles size and grandeur…
But that is not all as we also have the “Little Castle” to view..
Surrounded by its own wall and garden the Little Castle would be impressive enough, however it was built very much as the opulent pleasure house for William…a bit like a summer house in the garden, only much bigger than the usual.
Grand as the exterior of old buildings and castles may be, we tend to expect the interiors to be rather plain, solid stone walls with the main rooms draped in tapestries if the occupants were wealthy and lucky enough. Inside Little Castle we get a glimpse of what could be achieved…..ornate wood panels, painted ceilings, colourful drapes and lots of fireplaces to keep the Derbyshire winters at bay.
The most appealing of the rooms is the Star Chamber, one look at the plaster ceiling and you instantly know why it is so named…
So let me take you on a tour of Little Castle and its garden…
I do hope you have enjoyed another day out in Derbyshire. Grand surroundings for Grand Castle (or two!)
(C) David Oakes 2016
Little Castle, Bolsover, Derbyshire