Castle staff are riding high as equestrian centre opens

Pupils of New Bolsover Primary school meeting William Cavendish (Sebastian Bowen ) in the Riding House at English Heritage's Bolsover Castle.
Pupils of New Bolsover Primary school meeting William Cavendish (Sebastian Bowen ) in the Riding House at English Heritage's Bolsover Castle.
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Bolsover Castle is celebrating its equestrian heritage with the opening of a new exhibition and discovery centre.

As part of English Heritage’s £400,000 restoration of the castle and riding house, the exhibition tells the story of the castle’s history and the life story of its most famous resident William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle.

Cavendish was a master horseman and wrote books on manège, an early form of dressage.

He built the castle’s riding house in the 1630s where he trained his famous horses.

Claire Henry, English Heritage interpretation manger, said: “We have drawn on Bolsover Castle’s amazing history and particularly William Cavendish’s equestrian legacy, to create a new and engaging hands-on exhibition in the old stables that will be full of surprises.

“Visitors will be able to dress up as a Cavalier, sit in a replica of Cavendish’s special manège saddle and go inside a refurbished scale model of the Little Castle to experience an extravagant banquet held by Cavendish in 1634.”

Claire added: “William Cavendish was a Cavalier, a ladies’ man, patron of the arts and expert in manège.

“We’ve tried to convey his exuberance and enthusiasm for fantasy and art through the new exhibits.”

To mark the opening of the new exhibition, William Cavendish will make a dramatic return to his ancestral home this Saturday and Sunday in an event called The Duke of Newcastle Returns.

There will be dressage displays performed by riders dressed as Cavendish and his wife Margaret riding side-saddle and mounted Cavaliers will display their skills.