Bolsover’s formidable females

Bolsover’s formidable females of the past are set to inspire future generations.

One of the most ambitious projects in Bolsover’s recent history is set to be formally unveiled next month.

Fame, Fashion and Fortune – which has attracted nearly £50,000 in National Lottery Funding – will be launched as part of the country’s celebrated Heritage Open Days in September.

The project is set to tell the stories of eleven historic women of Bolsover who shaped, changed and improved the world - stretching right back to Bess of Hardwick and Avicia de Lancaster. Scores of volunteers led by Amanda Boler are already working tirelessly to re-create the costumes worn by the influential women who feature in the project.

The three year long Fame, Fashion and Fortune project will culminate in a touring exhibition, celebratory booklet, performances, website, events and more. Fame, Fashion and Fortune – which is being organised by Bolsover Parish Church – is set to be launched by the town’s very own ‘Baroness of Bolsover’.

Graysons, the Chesterfield-based legal firm that has supported the careers of successful female solicitors in Derbyshire, has also put its weight behind the initiative.

They are partnering Bolsover Church in the pioneering Fame, Fashion and Fortune project that will also include talks about the town of Bolsover and how it has changed over the years. Graysons, which is made up of nearly 80% women and has offices in Chesterfield, Hathersage and Sheffield, says the region should be proud of the contributions made to local society by people like Duchess Winifred – the British humanitarian and animal welfare activist who was born in 1863 and also features in the project.

Belinda Lancaster, partner at Graysons, said: “We’re a firm that has a long and proud history of championing the careers of women. To be involved in Fame, Fashion and Fortune is a great privilege and we’re proud to have the opportunity to help tell the inspiring stories of these great women who helped shape our region.”

Graysons’ staff Meriet Watts, Lacey Bates-Blinko and Elizabeth Carter recently participated in a hat making workshop at their office arranged by Sherry Richardson as part of the project.
A central part of the project is the re-creation of outfits worn by the women that have influenced the area and beyond stretching back to Elizabethan times.

Other women set to feature in the exhibition include Lady Arbella Stuart, noblewoman who was considered a possible successor to Queen Elizabeth I of England; Lady Ottoline Violet Anne Morrell, English aristocrat and society hostess; and Avicia de Lancaster who laid the foundations for the first Bolsover Church.

The Fame, Fashion and Fortune launch celebrations start on Friday, September 9th, and people are being invited along to watch the preparation of mannequins. It will be open the following day, Saturday, 10 September, from 10am with the ‘Baroness of Bolsover’ performing the grand opening at 2pm.

The launch event itself runs until 18 September (weekends from 10am until 4pm and weekdays from 11am until 2pm). The church crypt will also be open at the weekend and for pre-booked parties during the week.

The project has also received grant support from Derbyshire Community Foundation.


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