Monday, July 11, 2022

Day 9 June 8 Hardwick Hall - More glass than wall


Hardwick Hall
    Another day trip today.   Train from St Pancras to Chesterfield and then a bus to Glapwell, where you get off and walk to Harwick Hall.  Walk is the essential word here.  WALK.  Many steps.

St Pancras is rather fancy as the Eurostar departs from here.  A number of posh and pricey shops.   I had a quick breakfast in one of the eateries and grabbed a second cup of coffee before boarding the train for Chesterfield, just over a two-hour ride.  When I arrived in Chesterfield, I walked to the bus station, but I stopped at St. Mary & All Saints church as I wanted to see the crooked spire.

I took this bus to Glapwell and got off in front of the Young Vanish pub.  I assumed incorrectly as it turned out that the Hardwick Hall was not too far from this stop.   I was wrong.  The website site gave the bus information but did not add how far it was from that stop.  (The website now has more information, which may have been added after I spoke to several people at Hardwick about the walk and lack of signage.)

I crossed the street and took the first right.   Houses on both sides.  Okay, it must be close.  Street ends and fields begin ... what next?  Where do I go? No signs.   I see two elderly gentlemen so I ask them how do I get to Harwick.  One said: turn right here and when you get to the first left, turn and go to the end of the road and then turn right.   Thanks.  How long to the left turn?   About a mile said the gentleman.  

Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Just keep walking.  I tell myself, I will get there.  I hope.

I kept walking and walking and walking.  No cars.  No sheep, no cows.  Just fields.  I get to the left turn and start walking down the hill.  Start to feel a bit of anxiety because I have no idea where I am. No phone service, but I trusted the men's directions.  I reach the bottom of the hill.   Take a deep breath.  No signs, but I turned right and kept walking ... and then a sign!!

This was a sign of relief, but I still had a bit of a walk as this was the back entrance, just walking through a gate.  The walk was all uphill.  When I reached the ticket booth, I was in tears.  I explained what happened, and wished the website would have had more information.   Most people drive, I was told.  Am sure about that.   I took the train from London.   Got my ticket and walked toward the house, but a visit to the loo was on the top of my list.  

I looked at my Pacer app.  I clocked more than four miles walking to the house.   I arrived just after 1 p.m., and the house closes at 3:30.  Turned out it was enough time to see all the rooms that are open to the public as well as the artwork.  One portrait of  Queen Elizabeth I will be displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art later this year.

The exterior and interior of Hardwick Hall are undergoing renovation and restoration.   The house is known as More Glass than Wall.  The house and property are now owned by the National Trust,   The house belonged to the Dukes of Devonshire   Bess Hardwick was born at Hardwick.  She was married four times.    Her second husband was Sir William Cavendish.  Their second son, William, was the first Earl of Devonshire  (his great-great-grandson was created the 1st Duke of Devonshire).   Chatsworth House, which is about 21 miles from Hardwick Hall, has been the Cavendish seat since 1549.

Bess of Hardwick.  She was married four times and was one of the most powerful women during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I

When the Duke of Devonshire dies unexpectedly in 1950,  his heir faced crippling death duties (80%, which meant the family had to make a difficult decision.  In 1956, Hardwick Hall was given to the Treasury in lieu of taxes.  Three years later, the property was turned over to the National Trust.

The last resident of Hardwick Hall was Evelyn, Duchess of Devonshire, the widow of the Duke.  She remained in the house until her death in 1960 and had a prominent role in preserving the tapestries as well as the house, which was in great need of work.

Arbella Stuart,  Bess' granddaughter

Lady Arbella Stuart 1575-1615) was Bess's granddaughter, whose raised at Hardwick after the death of Arbella's mother..  She was the daughter of Elizabeth Cavendish and Charles 1st (& 5th) Earl of Lennox who was the younger son of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox and Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Tudor, and her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.  Due to her lineage, Arbella had possible succession rights to the English throne.

How?  Her father's older brother, Henry, Lord Darnley, was married to his first cousin,  Mary, Queen of Scots.  This marriage was arranged by Lady Margaret, whose older half-brother was James V of Scotland.   Queen Elizabeth did not approve of the Lennox-Cavendish match.  Lady Margaret was arrested and sent to prison, only to be released after Lord Darnley's murder.

Lady Margaret and Queen Elizabeth I were first cousins.    

In 1610, Lady Arbella married William Seymour in secret.  Elizabeth I had not allowed her cousin to marry and, now James I & VI, who also saw Lady Arbella as a threat to succession, as she was fourth in line to the throne,  placed her under house arrest.  William Seymour was sent to the Tower.   He was the grandson of Lady Katherine Grey and William Seymour.  Lady Katherine was the second of three daughters of Lady Frances Brandon, daughter of Princess Mary and Charles Brandon.   Lady Frances, Queen Elizabeth I, King James V, and Lady Margaret Douglas were first cousins and grandchildren of King Henry VII.

This portrait will be loaned to the Metropolitan Museum later this year

Bess' fourth husband was Gilbert, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury.  He had seven children from his marriage.  The new Countess of Shrewsbury arranged for her daughter and son, Lady Mary and Sir Henry Cavendish to marry Gilbert's heir, also named Gilbert (7th Earl of Shrewsbury) and Gilbert's daughter, Lady Grace Talbot.

the ES is for Elizabeth Shrewsbury

A Chaffinch

The website now has this bit of information. From Chesterfield, alight Glapwell 'Young Vanish', cross the road, walk up the hill and take 1st right following signs to Rowthorne & Hardwick. Continue toward village then take 2nd right & 1st left, arriving at Rowthorne gate. Continue straight to access Hardwick Hall. Please note the walk from the bus stop is approximately 2 miles, on main roads in part and with limited signage.

I made it.  Was it worth it, you may ask?  Absolutely.  Hardwick Hall is a historical gem.  Bess of Hardwick is one of the most important Tudor women.  If you are coming from London or other cities by train, get a cab at the Chesterfield train station after you walk a few minutes to see the crooked spire ... if you have an interest in crooked spires!

There are a few shoutouts!   First thank you to the very nice man at the ticket booth who assisted me when I arrived, exhausted, hot, and in need of the loo.   I asked how I would be able to get back to Chesterfield as I was not going to walk back to Glapwell.  He said someone in the visitor center would be able to call a taxi for me when I was ready to leave.

After visiting the house and gardens, it was time to sit down and have lunch at the cafe before visiting the shop, where I bought the guidebook, a few postcards, a fridge magnet, and a keyring, which will be turned into a Christmas ornament.  I also added to the total:  chocolate toffees. Yum. 

The last stop was the visitor center.  The staff there had been informed of my long walk.  They called a cab for me (back to Chesterfield).     Everyone was so kind and helpful to this American visitor.  

Hardwick Hall had been on my bucket list for years.  I visited Chatsworth in the 1990s.

It was nice to be off my feet for the two-hour train ride back to St. Pancras.  This was followed by a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.    By the time I got to London, I didn't care where I would have dinner.  This meant breaking my rule for visiting an American chain.  But I could get a seat at the bar at Friday's in Leicester  Square.  

When I got to Walthamstow --my host offered me a peppermint tea after telling him about my day.

In hindsight, this was a spirit of adventure outing.  A story to tell the cats about. It is always good to have the spirit of adventure, although my feet will disagree ... and I think I need to invest in new walking sneakers!

Before heading to bed, I checked the Pacers App.  I had walked nearly 11 miles today .... time to go to sleep!!


 If you liked this post, perhaps you can buy me a large iced coffee


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your travels. I thoroughly enjoy what you do here.

Andrew said...

I was born in Derbyshire. My dad used to take me on outings to houses and we didn't have a car so always had complicated bus connections with waits in between and a long walk at the end. Kedleston, Chatsworth, Haddon, Wingfield Manor, Bolsover Castle. I'd love to go back in time and repeat those trips with my dad beside me. Happy memories.

JohnF said...

Thanks for sharing your day, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I went to Hardwick (by car!) quite a few years ago, I remember there being many tapestries. That's the difficulty with country houses, they're just that, houses in the country, sometimes way way out in the country, & public transport to these often remote places isn't all it should be. An adventure though.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

thanks John and Andrew

I did Chatsworth some years, the walk was not as bad. It was an adventure. no regrets

Victorianna said...

Everything was beautiful inside and outside the Hall. Thanks so much.