I was under the weather the day of this visit, so the pics aren’t the best. Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire is said to be a testament to weath, power and ego. Bess of Hardwick began building the grand Elizabethan house in 1590 after the death of her hubby, Earl of Shrewsbury, the richest man in England at the time and her 4th husband. Supposedly their constant arguments were so vitriolic that the word “shrew,” short for Shrewsbury, entered the vocabulary.
Bess had a big ego and wanted to leave her mark. Her initials “ES”, Elizabeth of Shrewsbury, on everything from the gates that surround the property, to every parapet and surface. She also loved needlework and was quite good at it. The tapestries which line the walls are one of the great displays in the country.
One thing that separates Hardwick Hall from other historic houses is the use of glass, which was unheard of back in the 1500s. In choosing glass, Bess made a visual statement of beauty, modernism and wealth. You could say she was cutting edge!