Monday, August 31, 2015

Hardwick Hall (Part II - the Old Hall)

Hardwick Old Hall was the house Bess built to replace her ancestral medieval manor house in Derbyshire - that was too humble for a countess of her standing and wealth. She moved there after leaving Chatsworth when her fourth marriage - to George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury - broke down. The Old Hall was a grand house, built to impress.
Four storeys high, it also had walkways on the roofs for viewing the countryside around.
It is owned by English Heritage, and although it is a shell, there are stairs and a viewing platform, and plenty of info boards. The plasterwork overmantels can still be seen.
Looking up four floors

A kitchen fireplace

Some of the plasterwork

I wouldn't mind that view

The Hill Great Chamber, well lit, with classical detail and fine views.

The "Forest" Chamber - see the decor. A richly furnished room for formal occasions and entertainments.
The Old Hall and the New co-existed for some time after Bess died. It was in the care one of her sons, William Cavendish. The Cavendishes (Dukes of Devonshire) came to prefer Chatsworth, and the Old Hall was partly dismantled in the 1790s and fell into ruins.
For more information, check this link.

We finished our visit with a walk to the fish ponds at the bottom of the hill. 

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