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Site record MDR6283 - Extent of medieval town, Bolsover, Old Bolsover

Type and Period (1)

  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Bolsover has its origins as a medieval planned town laid out in the 11th century shortly after the establishment of the castle. The central axis is now represented by Castle Street, Middle Street and Church Street. The grid of medieval streets and lanes can still be traced, although the original alignment of Castle Street was set back some 50m from its present frontage, and later encroachment upon the rectangular market place has reduced the latter to a triangular area. The town later expanded north of Townend where long burgage plots can still be traced. The dimensions of these plots suggest derivation from earlier open field strips. Townend was the site of a gate providing access to the open fields, and to the roads to Worksop and Nottingham. (1) During the 12th and 13th centuries a large number of new towns were laid out in most parts of England, either by the Crown or private landowners. In Derbyshire there appears to have been two such towns, at Bolsover and Castleton. Bolsover is an example of an attempt to transform an existing rural manor rather than to build a new settlement from scratch. The town was laid out on the more or less level ground to the south-east of the outer bailey of the castle, probably either by the elder or younger William Peverel before 1155. It seems not to have expanded very much beyond its early 12th century boundaries until the end of the 19th century. Immediately to the south-east of the outer bailey of the castle a grid of streets was laid out, bounded on the south-west by the edge of a valley and on the north-east by the road from Chesterfield. While this shows some evidence of planning on a more or less rectangular site, plot sizes and the distances between streets are not regular. This area includes the church at its south-eastern end and a roughly square market place. Two further pieces of land are enclosed by surviving medieval earthworks, possibly having been added to the town after its initial foundation. To the north of the castle and the town is an irregularly shaped piece of land bounded on the south by Hill Top and Town End. The northern frontages of these roads were built up by the early 17th century. To the south-east, a similar earthwork encloses a much smaller area, known as Hornscroft. This may have been intended for an expansion of the town that never occurred; it appears to have been the site of the king's sheepfold mentioned in 1235. (2)

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unpublished document: Marshall, B (ARS Ltd). 2009. An Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment of 69, Hilltop Avenue, Bolsover.
  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Hart, C (NDAT). 1981. The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500. pp 139-40, fig. 10:9.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Riden, P & Fowkes, D. 2008. Bolsover Castle, Town and Colliery.



Grid reference Centred SK 47 70 (409m by 651m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

  • EDR5037
  • EDR3523
  • EDR4068
  • EDR2616
  • EDR5180

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Oct 23 2023 11:47AM

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