Bess of Hardwick

When was Bess of Hardwick born? Our county editor thinks it was sometime between 13 February 1521 and 12 February 1522, not as some others have it.

Twenty-twenty one probably marked an important anniversary for Bess of Hardwick – it’s almost certain that it was 500 years since she was born.

Bess is probably the third most famous Englishwoman of her age after Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots. Bess is, of course, particularly, associated with Hardwick Hall.

Though there’s no shortage of books on Bess of Hardwick, there has been some conjecture, over a long period, on just when she was born. Our VCH county editor, Philip Riden, who has extensively researched the issue, is certain that she was born in 1521 or in the early months of 1522.

Philip has written about the Hardwick family at Hardwick Hall in the Derbyshire Archaeological Society’s Journal (DAJ) of 2010. You can read it by selecting the article from the contents page here:…/vi…/daj/contents.cfm…

You can directly download the article as pdf via the link here. Look for the final paragraph on page 150.

You can find out more about Bess and the Hardwick estate in our paperback book ‘Hardwick a great house and its estate’.

The rather romanticised engraving of the Hardwick Hall is taken from Ford’s History of Chesterfield, published in 1839, as is the second illustration of Hardwick Old Hall.

This post was revised on 5 August 2023 to remove a link to website that no longer exists and add a direct link to an article in the DAJ.