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Bolsover Town Defences

In the civil parish of Old Bolsover.
In the historic county of Derbyshire.
Modern Authority of Derbyshire.
1974 county of Derbyshire.
Medieval County of Derbyshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK476703
Latitude 53.22587° Longitude -1.28818°

Bolsover Town Defences has been described as a probable Urban Defence.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Linear bank and ditches of uncertain date or function surviving as earthworks. (PastScape)

Bolsover was a deliberately planned and fortified town and closely followed the establishment of Bolsover Castle in C11. A market charter was confirmed in 1225-6 and the grid of streets, lanes and tenement boundaries are still visible in the town plan although the former rectangular market place is now reduced to a triangular area. The subsequent phase of the town's development lies to the north of the original core taking the form of long burage plots possibly derived from original open-field strips. The 'early earthwork' on the line of Horncroft Road was visible prior to recent road widening as a V-shaped ditch of narrow profile with an earth rampart and ditch extending south east from Horncroft Road has been wrongly called 'Jacobean' by previous writers. William Senior's map of the 1630's confirms that these works were of some antiquity; by then they were being used only as land boundaries. (PastScape ref. Hart)

The medieval town defences of Bolsover are well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. Such deposits provide important information relating to the construction and use of the town defences and will add considerably to our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic structure of the medieval community. It will also provide information on the continuity and change in the use of the monument from the medieval period to the present day.
This monument, which falls into two areas, includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval town defences of Bolsover situated on the north and east of the historic town. The earthworks represent the bank and ditch of the rampart which is approximately 8m in width at the base and varying between 3m and 2m in height. The 'V' shaped ditch is visible as an earthwork and varies between 6m and 7m in width and 2m to 3m in depth. Documentary sources show that the historic town of Bolsover was in existence by 1086. It was a planned, fortified town and followed the establishment of the castle in the 11th century. A market charter of 1225 to 1226 confirmed the grid of streets, lanes and tenement boundaries. The town extended to the north from the original core. (Scheduling Report)

VCH has a plan (from Downman) and suggests the ditches are pre-Conquest, although Hart seems to be suggesting they are post-Conquest. Bolsover and Peveril castles were often in the same hands and it may be that the town defences of Castleton and Bolsover are of a similar date (Castleton is tentatively dated as 1196).
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:47

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