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Scheduled Monument record MDR6253 - Bolsover entrenchments, Bolsover, Old Bolsover

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 4742 7078 and SK 4760 7025. Earthwork [G.T.]. (1) The motte and bailey castle may be a conversion of part of some earthworks that are said to have defended the town prior to the Norman conquest, and the extant earthworks on the moor side may be pre-Norman, but no definite conclusion can be drawn for there is no authentic evidence whatever of their origin. Anglo-Saxon beads and fragments of contemporary bronze ornaments have been found by a late Vicar in the upcast of the ditch at the southern extremity of the earthwork. (2, 3) An investigation of the bank and ditch has been started by D C Lane but no clear dating evidence has yet been found. (4) Scheduled. (5) The general line of these earthworks can be traced in varying states of preservation. They comprise a bank, averaging 9m wide and 1.4m high, with a ditch 4m wide and 1.4m deep. They have been mutilated throughout their length by buildings etc. The earthworks are defensive and placed in an obviously strategic position in relation to the steeply-sloped promontory occupied by Bolsover Castle. Their western side is formed by the steep escarpment but there seems no reason why the natural defence should not have been supplemented by a continuation of the defence along the crest as suggested. There is no evidence of a masonry wall in the nondescript garden walling but there are traces of a bank underlying the wall with surveyable traces at SK 47407021. It is most probable that the earthworks are a medieval town-wall type of defence as paralleled at Nottingham, Tamworth (Staffs) and Pleshey (Essex). (6) Published survey (25" 1962) revised. Field report of 1.1.60 correct. Mr. Lane's excavation was a single trench to reveal an accurate profile of the bank and ditch. No dating evidence was found and a period of construction is not suggested by the excavator who does not intend any further work. (7) One third of north-east entrenchment scheduled. Earthen rampart and V-shaped ditch to north-east. Rampart 8m wide at base x 2m high. Ditch 6m wide, V-shaped, 2m deep from outer edge. There is no counterscarp bank. Rapid erosion by cyclists cutting through rampart. Complete length of southern defences around Oxcroft, including air raid shelter, scheduled. Rampart 8m wide at base, 3m high with a V-ditch 3m deep and averaging 7m wide to the east. (9) Archaeological evaluation was undertaken on land off Oxcroft Lane to investigate the archaeological potential of an area and inform consideration of a planning application of the site. Ten trenches were excavated, one of which included part of the entrenchments. Samples were taken and analysed by optically stimulated luminescence dating (OSL) which put the section of entrenchment to date at least from the 9th century, although its subsequent form in historic mapping show the full earthwork as an integrated system of town defences including the castle to the south west of the excavation site. The earthwork may have been reinforced during the English Civil War in the 17th century. No dateable artefacts were recovered from the earthwork. (10)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1962. 1:2500.
  • <2> Article in serial: Gregory, F. 1948. 'Bolsover Castle. A review of the 17th century buildings', Transactions of the Thoroton Society. Volume 51, p 4ff.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. 'Forestry', Victoria County History, Derbyshire, Volume 1. p 376ff, plan.
  • <4> Article in serial: Bestall, J M (ed). 1960. 'Notes and News. Bolsover', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 80, p 133.
  • <5> Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. 1958. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 WCW 1-JAN-60 F1 WCW 1-JAN-60.
  • <7> Personal Observation: F2 FRH 24-NOV-65.
  • <8> Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust (NDAT). North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust Index: 1620. 1620.
  • <9> Scheduling record: Department of the Environment. 1986. Entrenchments north and south-east of Bolsover. Derbyshire 95.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Towle, A (SLR Consulting). 2013. Superstore development, Bolsover, Derbyshire, archaeological evaluation report.



Grid reference Centred SK 47416 70461 (427m by 831m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR3523
  • EDR4068
  • EDR717
  • EDR1897

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Record last edited

Jun 17 2019 12:00PM

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