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Door frames at Bolsover Castle

Stone Door Openings
Source: Philip Halling  |  License

A Brief History of Bolsover 'Little' Castle.


Bolsover Castle

Bolsover 'Little' Castle
Copyright © J. Thomas | Licensed for reuse.

Bolsover Castle

Bolsover 'Little' Castle
© Copyright J. Thomas | Licensed for reuse.

Bolsover Little Castle in Derbyshire.

Set on a hilltop overlooking the Vale of Scarsdale, the Bolsover 'Little' Castle we see today was built in the early seventeenth century by the Cavendish family on the site of a medieval fortress. The castle is now looked after by English Heritage and is a Grade 1 listed building.

The original fortress was founded in the late 11th century by William Peverel, one of William the Conqueror’s knights, but it became neglected from the 14th-century onwards. The Bolsover 'Little Castle' was built in 1612 by Sir Charles Cavendish amongst the neglected ruins. It was designed to look like a great Norman Tower with spectacular views over the Derbyshire countryside and landscapes. When Charles Cavendish died in 1617 his son William, first Duke of Newcastle, inherited the Little Castle. During the English Civil War william supported the Royalists but he was defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644 and was banished from the region. When he eventually returned to the castle in 1660 he spent a great deal of money repairing and refurbishing the castle. However, in the mid 1700's parts of the castle were already in ruins due to continued neglect and the entire estate passed to the Dukes of Portland.

Over the years there have been many reports of paranormal activity at the castle which English Heritage are very aware of. Strange and unexplained sightings include a female ghostly apparition in the kitchen area and a child who appears in a fireplace then disappears. Visitors have also reported the sounds of horses hooves and sights of riderless horses passing through the walls, and strange smells suddenly appearing with no obvious reason. White orbs (balls of light) are frequently seen floating about and women who walk through the grounds may occasionally have their hand held by a young male spirit. Ghostly footsteps and strange voices are often heard, and doors often slam for no visible reason. Bolsover Castle has a lot of paranormal activity and is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire.

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