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Bolsover (frequently colloquialised as “Boeser”) is a small town near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. It is 145 miles (233 km) from London, 18 miles (29 km) from Sheffield, 26 miles (42 km) from Nottingham and 54 miles (87 km) from Manchester. It is the main town in the Bolsover district.

The civil parish for the town is called Old Bolsover. It includes the town and the New Bolsover model village, along with Carr Vale, Shuttlewood, Stanfree, Oxcroft and Whaley. Its population at the 2001 UK Census was 11,291.

The NT property of Hardwick Hall is in the District, and Bolsover Castle is in the town.

The origin of the name is uncertain. It may be derived from Bula’s Ofer or Boll’s Ofer, respectively the Old English for Bull’s Ridge or Boll’s Ridge (the ridge associated with a person named Boll), alternatively in the 1650s it was referred to as ‘Bolsouer’.

Bolsover is mentioned in Domesday Book, named as Belesovre, where it is described as the property of William Peverel (or “Peveril”). The description refers to the villans, the ploughs, 8 acres (32,000 m2) of meadow, and woodland pasture, which is given as two leagues by a league.

William, Duke of Newcastle, was possibly an illegitimate son of William the Conqueror. Bolsover became the seat of the Peverel family, and in the twelfth century a keep was built. The present castle was erected in 1613.

In 1657 William Cavendish produced the book ‘La Methode et Invention nouvelle de Dresser les Chevaux’ which he produced in exile in Antwerp during the Cromwellian Protectorate. This was translated in 1743 to ‘A General System of Horsemanship in All Its Branches’ this covered the dressage of horses, at his ‘Bolsouer’, Welbeck and Antwerp stables and there are etched prints  existing showing the ‘Monsieur le Marquis a Cheval’ amongst many other views of the town. The etches are attributed to Abraham van Diepenbeeck a pupil of Van Dyck.

The district of Bolsover is notable for three sites of historical importance: Bolsover Castle, Creswell Crags (home to Britain’s only known Palaeolithic cave art) and Creswell Model Village, an example of early twentieth century design from the Model village movement.

Two railway lines once served Bolsover, but both were early casualties. The Midland Railway (later part of the LMS), arrived first with their north-south running “Doe Lea Valley Line” from Staveley to Pleasley, opened in September 1890 and thus enabling a through service between Chesterfield and Mansfield to be operated, but services were withdrawn as early as September 1930[citation needed]. The Bolsover station on this line was known as “Bolsover Castle” in its latter days.

The other line was the highly ambitious west-east running Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway, later part of the Great Central Railway and subsequently the LNER. Only the middle section from Chesterfield to Lincoln was ever built, opening in March 1897 (the Bolsover station was “Bolsover South”), but the section between Chesterfield and Shirebrook was brought to a premature demise in December 1951 by the deteriorating state of its biggest engineering feature, the 2,624-yard (2,399-metre) Bolsover Tunnel which ran beneath the limestone ridge on which stands the castle. The tunnel was mostly filled in with colliery waste in 1966-7, and today only the eastern portal is visible, at the end of an unusually deep sheer-sided cutting in the village of Scarcliffe.

The major industry of the area used to be coal mining, but this has declined throughout all of England. Markham Colliery, just outside the town, closed in 1993. The Bolsover Colliery Company was one of the original companies in the original FT 30 list of companies. In August 2006, Bolsover was announced to have the seventh worst obesity rate in the UK.

In 2007 Bolsover was chosen as the location to film the movie Summer starring Robert Carlyle and Rachael Blake. The film features two vibrant kids, wasted by their experience of education. Many scenes from the movie were filmed on the Castle Estate, which is affectionately known by the Bolsover residents as the ‘Wimps’ (because it was built, in the 1950s, by George Wimpey, the construction company) and lies just underneath Bolsover Castle. Other parts of the film were filmed in Whitwell, Bramley Vale and Shirebrook Community school, just a few miles from Bolsover. Summer was released on 5 December 2008. The trailer for Summer was released in late November and contained a few scenes which showed the Castle Estate in Bolsover containing the top of Springfield Crescent and also Hyndley Road. In an interview in late November, director Kenneth Glenaan and Robert Carlyle both agreed that Bolsover was the perfect setting for the film as it ‘has been left in the past’. It also said that going from Matlock to Bolsover is like going to a different country and claimed the Castle Estate is ‘the land time forgot’.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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