Or Hardwick Halls I should say, there being the Old Hall (a ruin) and the New Hall (famous Elizabethan pile with its own rhyme – “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall”). The picture shows the latter as seen from the top of the former.

Now, I have to declare that when it comes to the English part of our holiday this was the trip I was most looking forward to, because of my deep love of all things 16th century, which if you’ve been reading this blog over the years you will know all too well. Plus it was the home of Bess of Hardwick, a formidable woman who after marrying and surviving four husbands, being custodian of Mary Queen of Scots for part of her English imprisonment, and living to a ripe old age, tried to set up her grand-daughter Arabella Stuart as a potential heir for Elizabeth I. Didn’t work but darned good try. I have a couple of books about her which I meant to read before I came away but I ran out of time; I will be tucking into them when I get back because if I was interested before I am absolutely fascinated now.

The New Hall is magnificent, full of wonderful portraits including two of Arabella (about whom I also have a book, must find that as well).

General consensus is that Arabella had a sad life, a phrase repeated by several of the very nice National Trust people willing to chat about the various rooms we wandered through.

So, very pleased with what has been a beautifully sunny day, ideal for this sort of visit.

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