Bess of Hardwick

Twenty-twenty one probably marks an important anniversary for Bess of Hardwick – it’s almost certain that it’s 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 of 2010. You can read it by selecting the article from the contents page here:…/vi…/daj/contents.cfm…

You can find out more about Bess and the Hardwick estate at our Explore website…/ite…/bess-hardwick and 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.