History Group Visit to Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire.
A coach load of History Group Members travelled to Derbyshire to visit Hardwick Hall, following a previous talk to the Group on Bess of Hardwick, a redoubtable Elizabethan lady. Although the weather was inclement, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Group, who found the visit inspirational. During the course of the day, an informative and helpful guide gave us, as a Group, a very enlightening Introductory Talk.
Hardwick Hall consists of an extended medieval farmhouse, which became a castle-like dwelling and the New Hall, a grand statement of wealth and status, built during the Elizabethan period. The New Hall was being built while the Old Hall was still being extended! The roofless Old Hall has original decorative plasterwork and amazing views of the New Hall and the surrounding countryside. The New Hall retains its magnificent Belgian wall tapestries and Elizabethan furniture and impressed us with its lofty Great Hall and the Long Gallery, lined with many portraits of significant people of the period. Bess of Hardwick survived four husbands to become the second wealthiest and most powerful woman in the realm after Elizabeth I. Hardwick Hall is a lasting testimony to her incredible ambition and influence.