Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall
Hardwick Hall
Hardwick Hall in Doe Lea - Derbyshire.jpg
Hardwick Hall, built 1590–1597
Type Country house
Proprietor National Trust
Main feature Elizabethan country house
Other features Garden, parkland, ruin
Public access Yes
Museum No
Exhibition Yes
Country England
Region East Midlands
UK Grid square SK4663
Address Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Postcode S44 5QJ
Refreshments Yes
Parking Yes
Shop Yes
Website http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-hardwickhall
53°10′08″N 1°18′31″W / 53.1689°N 1.3086°W / 53.1689; -1.3086Coordinates: 53°10′08″N 1°18′31″W / 53.1689°N 1.3086°W / 53.1689; -1.3086
Hardwick's long gallery in the 1890s.
Hardwick's skyline features six rooftop pavilions with Bess of Hardwick's initials "ES" (Elizabeth Shrewsbury) carved into the balustrade.
Hardwick Old Hall

Hardwick Hall (grid reference SK463637), in Derbyshire, is one of the most significant Elizabethan country houses in England. In common with its architect Robert Smythson's other works at both Longleat House and Wollaton Hall, Hardwick Hall is one of the earliest examples of the English interpretation of the Renaissance style of architecture, which came into fashion when it was no longer thought necessary to fortify one's home.



Hardwick Hall is situated on a hilltop between Chesterfield and Mansfield, overlooking the Derbyshire countryside. The house was designed for Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury and ancestress of the Dukes of Devonshire, by Robert Smythson in the late 16th century and remained in that family until it was handed over to HM Treasury in lieu of Estate Duty in 1956. The Treasury transferred the house to the National Trust in 1959. As it was a secondary residence of the Dukes of Devonshire, whose main country house, Chatsworth House, was in nearby Chatsworth, it was little altered over the centuries and indeed, from the early 19th century, its antique atmosphere was consciously preserved.


Hardwick is a conspicuous statement of the wealth and power of Bess of Hardwick, who was the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I herself. It was one of the first English houses where the great hall was built on an axis through the centre of the house rather than at right angles to the entrance. Each of the three main storeys is higher than the one below, and a grand, winding, stone staircase leads up to a suite of state rooms on the second floor, which includes one of the largest long galleries in any English house and a little-altered, tapestry-hung great chamber with a spectacular plaster frieze of hunting scenes. The windows are exceptionally large and numerous for the 16th century and were a powerful statement of wealth at a time when glass was a luxury, leading to the saying, "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall" (or, in another version, "more window than wall"). ()Sir Nikolaus Pevsner writes, "The little rhyme is: 'Hardwick Hall, more window than wall.' " [1] There is a large amount of fine tapestry and furniture from the 16th and 17th centuries. A remarkable feature of the house is that much of the present furniture and other contents are listed in an inventory dating from 1601.

Hardwick Hall contains a large collection of embroideries, mostly dating from the late 16th century, many of which are listed in the 1601 inventory. Some of the needlework on display in the house incorporates Bess's monogram "ES", and may have been worked on by Bess herself.


Hardwick is open to the public. It has a fine garden, including herbaceous borders, a vegetable and herb garden, and an orchard.

The extensive grounds also contain Hardwick Old Hall, a slightly earlier house which was used as guest and service accommodation after the new hall was built. The Old Hall is now a ruin. It is administered by English Heritage on behalf of the National Trust and is also open to the public.

Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank selected the Hall as one of his five choices for the 2006 BBC television documentary series Britain's Best Buildings.[2]

Although the hall was unconventional in its own time and did not spawn many contemporary imitators, it would serve, three centuries later, as a source of inspiration for the enormous Main Exhibition Building at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876. Hardwick Hall was an ideal model for a building which was intended to merge historicism with the large expanses of glass that had, become de rigueur for the main exhibition halls at international expositions and fairs in the wake of the enormous success of the The Crystal Palace constructed for the 1851 London Exhibition.[3]

Contemporary references

Hardwick Hall was used to film the exterior scenes of Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

It also featured in the television series Mastercrafts episode 6 on Stonemasonry,where trainees vied to create fitting sundials for the garden of Hardwick Hall.


  1. ^ Nikolaus Pevsner, A History of Building Types. London: Thames and Hudson, 1976, p. 324, note 80.
  2. ^ Cruickshank, Dan. "Britain's Best Buildings". BBC Four. http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/bbb-hardwick.shtml. Retrieved June 3, 2008. 
  3. ^ Nikolaus Pevsner, A History of Building Types. London: Thames and Hudson, 1976, p. 248.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Hardwick-Hall — (spr. H. Hahl), Schloß in der englischen Grafschaft Derbyshire, dem Herzog von Devonshire gehörig; das alte, jetzt in Ruinen liegende, von der Gräfin Shrewsbury (Tochter von John Hardwick) erbaute Schloß war einst das Gefängniß der Königin Maria… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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  • hall — [ hɔl ] noun count *** 1. ) a long narrow passage inside a building with doors along it leading to rooms a ) the area inside the front door of a house or other building, that leads to other rooms: I wish you wouldn t leave your shoes in the hall …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Hardwick House — See also and not to be confused with Hardwick Hall .Hardwick House is a Tudor style house on the banks of the River Thames on a slight rise at Whitchurch in the English county of Oxfordshire. It is reputed to have been the inspiration for E. H.… …   Wikipedia

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  • hall */*/*/ — UK [hɔːl] / US [hɔl] noun [countable] Word forms hall : singular hall plural halls 1) a large room used for meetings, concerts, or other public events dining/sports hall: Hundreds of students had packed into the dining hall. a) a public building… …   English dictionary

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