The Tudor Society
  • Bess of Hardwick

    Elizabeth Hardwick, more popularly known as Bess of Hardwick, was the daughter of John Hardwick and Elizabeth Leeke and was born in 1527. The Hardwicks were a prosperous Derbyshire gentry family. Her father died in 1528 and her mother remarried, marrying Ralph Leche of Chatsworth. Bess is today remembered as a builder of great houses, including Chatsworth, Hardwick Hall and Oldcotes. Her name continues to be associated with the rhyme “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall”. She was, in the words of her biographer Mary S. Lovell, “the most powerful woman in the land next to Queen Elizabeth I’”. Bess was, according to Lovell, “a serious achiever” and it was through her four husbands that she gradually acquired notable wealth and status.

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