History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
One of the most remarkable women of her age, Bess was born at the nearby Old Hall, little more than a yeoman farmer's daughter. She was married at the age of 14, widowed at 15, then married again to Sir William Cavendish. She had 8 children with Sir William, but she was still just 30 when he died, so she married again, and again she was widowed. She was a wealthy woman, but she wanted not just wealth, but the status that came with high social rank. She married for a fourth time, to the Earl of Shrewsbury, then the richest man in England.
It was a marriage of ambition and convenience, but it was a disaster. The couple squabbled constantly, and their feuding became so bitter that Queen Elizabeth stepped in. Even the queen could not bring the warring coouple together, however. The bickering was so bitter and so persistent that the word 'shrew', short for Shrewsbury, entered our vocabulary.
The house stands on a rise, dominating the surrounding countryside. Six projecting towers stand at the sides of the rectangular house. The walls are pierced by the huge multipaned windows that gave rise to the famous rhyme. Beside the forecourt stands the partial ruins of Hardwick Old Hall, Bess's first home.
Hardwick Hall is one of England's great show homes, and it stands as a memorial to the power - and ego - of its remarkable founder.
For more images of the house and gardens at Hardwick, see our
HARDWICK OLD HALL
About Hardwick Hall
Address: Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, S44 5QJ
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 6 m W Mansfield, off A 6175 and M1 (exit 29)
Website: Hardwick Hall
Phone: 01246 850 430
Fax: 01246 858 424
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SK456 651
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Stainsby Mill - 1 miles (Historic Building)
Hardwick Old Hall - 1.1 miles (Historic Building)
Sutton Scarsdale Hall - 2.4 miles (Historic House)
Bolsover Castle - 3.6 miles (Castle)
Bolsover Cundy House - 3.7 miles (Historic Building)
Chesterfield, Crooked Spire Church - 5.8 miles (Historic Church)
Revolution House - 7.6 miles (Historic Building)
Wingfield Manor - 8.2 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Hardwick Hall: