Derbyshire Places of Worship

We have 3 Images St Mary & St Laurence's Church, Bolsover (1) (133k) St Mary & St Laurence's Church, Bolsover (2) (88k) St Mary & St Laurence's Church, Bolsover (3) (120k) Above Photograph(s)
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St Mary & St Laurence's Church, Bolsover
St Mary & St Laurence's Church,
High Street / Hornscroft Road,
Bolsover, Derbyshire.


This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded about 1020, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1895 describes St Mary's Church as "a building of stone, consists of chancel, nave, south porch, aisles and a western tower with low broach spire, containing 6 bells". The early Norman edifice, erected about 1020, was partly re-built about 1200. The piers of the chancel arch and a doorway and window in the south chancel wall are the principal remnants of the old Norman building. The tympanum of the south chancel door bears a representation of the "Crucifixion", with figures of St Mary and St John, probably of the same date. The tower was built during the Early English period. The east window is Decorated, and filled with stained glass as a memorial to members of the Charlesworth family; the whole of the north aisle and porch are also in this style.

On the south side of the chancel is a large slab roughly incised with the figures of a man and woman with five children kneeling below them, and a defaced inscription to William Woodhouse, 1310. In the south aisle is a recess, inclosing a stone slab, discovered in 1704 outside the north door, placed face downwards and used as a doorstep; it is rudely carved in high relief, with a representation of the "Adoration of the Magi", once richly coloured and probably originally stood above the altar in the Norman church of Wiliam Peveril.

At the east end of this aisle is another recess, and a door opening into the Cavendish chapel, which is filled with monuments to members of this family, fourteen of whom are buried here. The memorials include one to Sir Charles Cavendish kt. of Welbeck Abbey, erected by his wife Catherine, Baroness Ogle, in 1617, and another "in the Italian style", erected in 1691 by Henrietta (Cavendish-Holles) Countess of Oxford, to her grandfather, Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, d.1691, and his daughters. The roofs were lowered and various alterations made in Queen Anne's reign.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/448/3/3/3) for "St Mary's Church", said to be "consecrated within 12th century" indicated an attendance of "from 140 to 180" in the morning, and "from 220 to 270 or 280" in the afternoon. The return was completed by John Hamilton Gray, who styled himself Vicar of the above named parish and Scarcliff & Rural Dean of Chesterfield. He gave his address as "Bolsover Castle, Chesterfield".

The church was fully restored in 1877, under the direction of Mr. William Mitchell Withers, architect, when the galleries were removed, the interior reseated, an organ chamber and a north aisle added, and a rood screen of old carved oak erected. There was seating for 850. The parish records date from 1604.

Note: according to the account for Bolsover provided by Victoria County History (in 2014, then "Work in Progress") the parish church appears to have been consistently dedicated to St Mary until in 1956, when a church guide of that year recorded it as "St Mary and St Lawrence". However "since the fair established in 1251 was to be held on the vigil, feast and morrow of St Laurence, it is possible that the original dedication of the church was to him, rather than St Mary".


Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church is located at OS grid reference SK4744870316. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Bolsover, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Information last updated on 21 Nov 2014 at 11:29.

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This Report was created 29 Nov 2023 - 02:34:24 GMT from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:33.

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