A visit to Bess of Hardwick

One of my personal  heroines  (if you can have one who has been dead for just over 400 years) is Bess of Hardwick. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been to her house, Hardwick Hall, many times to look at the embroidery there and have two fabulous books about the embroidery collection. My lovely children bought me another biography of her life for Xmas .

I admire Bess not only for her embroidery but also for being a powerful and successful woman in the Elizabethan era when that was not easy. I have just been watching the Tudors second series on DVD and it really brings it home to you how little say in their lives most women had.

So I was really pleased a couple of weeks ago to be able to visit Bess’s tomb , which is in Derby Cathedral. It was very special for me to be able to go and pay my respects to such a wonderful embroiderer.

The pictures below are of her tomb with close ups of the crown and dress.

The tomb in Derby Cathedral
The tomb in Derby Cathedral
The top of the effigy
The top of the effigy
Bess at prayer
Bess at prayer
Detail of head and crown
Detail of head and crown
Detail of front of dress
Detail of front of dress

For an overview of Bess’s life click here and the Hall itself is well worth a visit – there is a a link to the National Trust page giving details about opening times etc in the first part of this post.

I will leave you with a few pictures of the embroidery you can see on a visit to the hall – just a few of many wonderful things!

A bed canopy at Hardwick
A bed canopy at Hardwick
A stool cover showing a flower motif
A stool cover showing a flower motif
One of the marvellous heraldic pieces
One of the marvelous heraldic pieces
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4 thoughts on “A visit to Bess of Hardwick

  1. Amazing! Just finished a novel by Virginia Henley and had to look her up!
    Thank you for bringing her to life!

    • Hello Elizabeth
      Thanks for visiting the blog and glad you liked the post. If you ever get a chance to visit Hardwick Hall do go – it is an amazing place. I have not heard of the novel but will go and look that up as would love to read more about her.
      Alison

  2. Hi
    I love the story of Bess of Harwick too! In 2008 my daughter and I went to England and visiting Hardwick Hall was near the top of my list. She must have had quite a strong “sense of self” to have placed her intitials so boldly across the parapets! However, I wan’t surprised to read she lived in a small part of the building for much of her later years, the heating would have been impossible.

    • Hello Barbara
      Thanks for visiting and I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Hardwick, I never get tired of going and seeing all the beautiful things there.
      Alison

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