Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Hardwick Hall
Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
S44 5QJ
0845 450 4545

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Hardwick Hall

One’s first impression probably echoes the old saying ‘Hardwick Hall more glass than wall’, because it is impossible not to marvel at the huge expanses of glass rising skywards as one approaches.

The house was built by Elizabeth Shrewsbury- better known as Bess of Hardwick.

Designed by Robert Smythson and largely completed in 1597, it is regarded as one of the finest and most complete examples of Elizabethan architecture.

Undoubtedly, it was built to reflect Bess’s wealth and status, with six imposing towers (further heightened during construction) and a vast array of windows. At the time, glass was an extremely expensive material, and to use it on this scale was a display of extravagance.

The effect is spectacular and all the more fascinating because some of the windows are false to conceal chimney pieces!

Inside, the arrangement and proportions of the state rooms, containing many rare and beautiful tapestries, testify to Smythson’s remarkable ingenuity.

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