Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Gardens to Visit: Hardwick Hall

 Hardwick Hall near Chesterfield in Derbyshire is famous for having more windows than the average Elizabethan could possibly imagine. Built for Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury, mother of the first Duke of Devonshire, it was a statement of huge wealth. Windows are expensive even these days but in the 1590s this much glazing was the equivalent of owning a super yacht or your own private 747.

Bess made sure her initials were everywhere. The carved Es and Ss on the roof are particularly fabulous.

Bess had eight children with her second husband Sir William Cavendish.
Frances, Temperance, Henry, William, Charles, Elizabeth, Mary & Lucrece.

The garden features some handsome old walls and beautifully clipped yew.

And there's a haha. You can see cricket and cows beyond the haha.

Bess's fourth husband George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, was jailor to Mary Queen of Scots although she never lived at Hardwick. Bess was an expert needlewoman and spent time with Queen Mary at Chatsworth House working on the Oxburgh Hangings.

In the not too distant past the view from Hardwick would have been of coal mines and industry. 
Not any more. It's all pretty landscape now.

We visited in September 2011.
This isn't a spectacular garden. The house is spectacular. 
But the garden is restful and soothing and a great setting for such an amazing house.

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