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Well the summer is passing by so quickly! How on earth can it be the 12th of August already?!

I’ve had many of my family to visit – and my mum stayed for a few days for her birthday (more on this another time) but besides that, we’ve not done much besides enjoy the new house. We have, however, spent quite a few days attacking the attic room. We have now succeeded in turning it from the ‘dump-all room’ into the ‘craft space’ we wanted – home to the computer, my beau’s art stuff, the sewing machine, my card making equipment and all other sorts of creative matter. It’s looking good and it feels nice to have it separate (and all its possible mess) to the rest of the house. It’s tidy at the moment – although the beau has started a painting – so that won’t be for long I’m sure! ;-)

However, we did decide to have a day out and capitalise on the ‘one’ day of sunny weather we’ve had this week! And so, we set off for Bolsover Castle, which is somewhere we’ve been planning to go for years.  We pass it all the time on the way to my parents – and silently salute it from the M1 motorway – although decided it was time to walk on its very soil. We are so glad we did – as it’s so beautful! One or two of you will have already seen a few of these pics posted on my Facebook wall. Isn’t it beautiful!?

Bolsover occupies the hilltop site of a medieval fortress and was originally built by the Peverel family in the 12th century – but after years of neglect was purchased by Sir George Talbot in 1553. Talbot, later becoming the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury is noted for his marriage to ‘Bess of Hardwick’, probably the most astute business woman of the 16th century, who owned the vast Chatsworth estates. You can see my visit to her exquisite home: ‘Hardwick Hall’ here.

Bolsover Castle was sold on to Charles Cavendish in 1608, who employing Robert Smythson as his architect, set about re-building the castle. which, despite its appearance, was designed for elegant living rather than for defence. The tower, known today as the little castle, was completed around 1621. William also added the vast and stately Terrace Range overlooking the Vale of Scarsdale, now a dramatic roofless shell. Finally he constructed the Riding House with its magnificent roof and viewing galleries, where he indulged his passion for training great horses in stately dressage.

Despite Bolsover Castle falling into a ruinous state during the Civil War, William Cavendish added a new hall and various staterooms to the terrace range and, by the time of his death in 1676, the castle had been restored to good order. His successors, however, chose to live at Welbeck Abbey and in 1752 they stripped the lead from the roof of the range at the castle to repair their preferred residence. The Little Castle and the Riding School Range did survive and was eventually let to the Curate of Bolsover in 1834. Following the death of his widow in 1883, the castle remained uninhabited and was eventually given to the nation by the 7th Duke of Portland in 1945. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.

We completely fell in love with the place and became very excited to know some of the rooms could be hired within the little castle – for wedding ceremonies. The gorgeous riding school was also available for evening hire – and for wedding receptions. It is expensive and something we can’t afford or justify at the moment, but we at least now know of its existence…and can start saving for it ;-)

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