Hardwick Hall is a late Elizabethan prodigy house designed by Robert Smythson for Bess of Hardwick.
Bess was one of the most remarkable woman of the 16th century. She was born in the Old Hall which sits beside Hardwick. She was married 4 times and built many houses. Chatsworth was started by her (The Dukes of Devonshire are descendants of the children of her second marriage).
She returned to Harwick after she separated from her 4th husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and rebuilt the Old Hall then a few years later built Hardwick Hall - more glass than wall.
The Dukeries area of the Midlands included many of her descendants. Her Grandaughter Arabella Stuart was a possible successor for Elizabeth I apparently.
Oh and she was a very accomplished seamstress and was companion of Mary Queen of Scots in England. Together they produced the Oxburgh Hangings which you can find at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk.
Hardwick was in the Chatsworth estate until 1956 when it was given to the crown in lieu of death duties. In 1959 it was passed to the NT
So here is the Old Hall, now a ruin.
So to the "new" Hall
The little mouse is Pip who Quacks chats to on twitter. Hardwick is his weekend residence (his human is a room guide)
Annoyingly Hardwick has one of those reserve your table before ordering tearooms which if you are single is a right pain in the neck! In this case I gave up and got a sandwich from the little takeaway cubby hole and ate it in my car!
So off to.... NO!! As I put my glasses on the arm fell off! ARGH. still they were still useable and just down the road ....
852 St John the Baptish, Auck Hucknell
Luckily there were people there and I was able to borrow some sellotape for my glasses!! It's a great look