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Hardwick Hall 25th April 2012
Hardwick hall is an elizabethan hall that was built between 1590 - 1597, it was built purposely to show wealth and power. It was designed by Robert Smythson , who also designed Longleat house. The hall is off the M1 motorway near to Chesterfield and Mansfield and overlooks some great open countryside. The house belonged to Bess of Hardwick, (Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury). The lady was married four times, with her last husband being George Talbot the 6th Earl of shrewsbury, he was to become the keeper of Mary Queen of scots for a short while. Bess was a most powerful women in her time and was well connected to the Royal court and Queen Elizabeth. The house was given to the national trust in 1956 after massive death duties remained unpaid, and the government had it transferred it to there care. Bess of Hardwick was probably the second richest women in the land after Elizabeth I and she spent a fortune on the house to make it look grand. The house has some massive chambers and long galleries with some of the highest ceilings i have seen, all covered with paintings etc. The house is also famous for its hanging Tapestries. There are loads of rooms open to the public and you can soon spend a few hours looking around. The Gardens are large however we did not look around due to the rain which was coming down in biblical proportions. In the grounds you will find the old hall, this belongs to English heritage however trust members can go in for nothing and have a look around. This house must have been very grand, however, not grand enough for Bess, so she had Hardwick new Hall built. Again if you are ever that way i recommend you stop off for a visit, i love old architecture and this is some of the finest in the UK.