Bolsover, St Mary & St Laurence

Bolsover, St Mary & St Laurence

The Norman/Victorian church is dedicated to Saint Mary, the mother of Jesus and to the Roman Saint Laurence, who traditionally was martyred by being roasted alive on a gridiron. His feast day is August 10th and from 1251 the annual Bolsover Fair was held on that date.  The church is a listed building. Moreover, although it was gutted by fire in 1897, rebuilt in 1898 and damaged by fire again in 1960, Saxon artefacts, Norman Tower, 17th century Cavendish Chapel, crypt and Victorian developments, including the fine stained glass east window commemorating Lady Augusta Cavendish-Bentinck, Baroness of Bolsover and the Remembrance Corner and the Window for the Fallen from Bolsover have all been preserved.

New artefacts, including statues and carvings, the Coalite Corona, the Willis Organ, the 1960 Fire Commemoration Window in the Children's Corner, the coal-mining 'Our Heritage' banner and miner's lamp near the north door, together with the new hydraulic technologies stabilising the Tower are continuing the church's long heritage.

Mentioned as 'Belsevore' in the Norman Domesday Book (1086), Bolsover's Saxon settlement, including a church was protected by natural hillsides, cliffs and woods, together with defensive earthworks. These were all assimilated into the Outer Bailey of the enclosed, hilltop, motte and bailey fortress, founded by Lord of the Manor, William Peverel, alleged illegitimate, favourite son of William the Conqueror and Keeper both of Bolsover Castle and Peveril Castle at Castleton in the Peak District.

Although there was no written reference to a Bolsover church in Domesday, several Saxon carved stone artefacts, including a decorated slab coffin lid, a stone with the sign of the cross and corbels discovered during excavations on the present parish church site provide evidence of a mainly timber-built, pre-Norman place of Christian worship, within the outer bailey of the castle and the entrenchments.

The farm animal heads: stone corbels surviving from that church have now been set into the west wall overlooking the Choir stalls. A carved stone medieval Nativity/Epiphany Tableau, placed in the Baptistry, perhaps provides a medieval mason's loving tribute to Jesus, as both Lamb of God and Good Shepherd, also to his mother Mary (one of the church's Patrons), and to the hard, mainly pastoral daily life of the Christian worshippers in Bolsover.

The Late Norman Tower, built in the locally quarried magnesian limestone, is a surviving part of the stone church built in the late 12th century. It supports the original, broad shouldered, broached-spire, roofed with magnesian limestone slabs. It now houses 8 Victorian Bells tuned and hung for change ringing. A 13th century bell pit used for casting the medieval church bells in-situ was discovered during excavations under the tower.

St Mary & St Laurence, Bolsover
Tower, Bolsover
Interior, St Mary & St Laurence, Bolsover
Interior, St Mary & St Laurence, Bolsover


Place for quiet reflection


Stained Glass
Architectural Features

Hornscroft Road/ High Street
S42 6HG

Revd Rachel Gouldthorpe
01246 824888 /

Open times:

Open Fridays 10:00am- 11:30 am

2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Saturdays of the month 10:00am- 12:00pm