18 October 2017

Hardwick

Hardwick New Hall (Wikipedia picture)
For the past few days, I have not been feeling too well. Bunged up with cold and not able to breathe easily. Some might call it "man flu" which is in my view a dumb and rather sexist way of describing a genuine male ailment.

On Sunday, in spite off my poorliness, Shirley I drove out of  the city. After passing through Chesterfield, we arrived in the north-east Derbyshire parish of Ault Hucknall. We parked near the eastern gates to an old country estate.
After donning  our boots, we set off through the gates and along a lengthy driveway. The temperature was pleasant for October and sunshine was beginning to burn off the early morning cloudiness. Sheep observed us from the trees.

Shortly we arrived at the two old halls that sit in the heart of the Hardwick Estate. There's Hardwick Old Hall and Hardwick New Hall. The former building was constructed in the early sixteenth century and the latter much later in that same century.
The initials "E.S." can be seen on the parapet
As we approached Hardwick New Hall, up on the stone  parapets somebody's initials were dominant - "E.S.". Who could that be? It was Elizabeth Shrewsbury - otherwise known as Bess of Hardwick (1527-1608). It was she who ordered the construction of Hardwick New Hall and no expense was spared. After all, she had become the second richest woman in England after Elizabeth I. By 1590, she could afford whatever she wanted. The building is partly notable because of the amount of glass that was used in its large windows. At the time, no other residential building in the world had lavished so much space or money on glass windows.
Bess of Hardwick's coat of arms in stone on the roof of the new hall
Partly because of the admission fees demanded by The National Trust and English Heritage, on this occasion we did not venture inside The New Hall or the ruinous Old Hall. Instead we continued our ramble through the country estate and back to the car. Soon we were quaffing refreshing drinks in "The Elm Tree Inn" in the nearby village of Heath.
St Mary's, Sutton Scarsdale
After this I took Shirley a mile further north to see the shell of Sutton Scarsdale Hall. A  service was just finishing in the adjacent St Mary's Church so we went inside. The vicar, whose name was Roy, kindly gave us a mini guided tour of the building. What most impressed me was the ninth century Saxon tombstone embedded in the floor with its symbol of a primitive scythe. It was very kind of Roy to talk to us and nice to meet a man who has a passionate and intimate knowledge of his local history - in particular the church and its historical associations.

By the time I got home I was, as my mother would have probably said, jiggered. What with the cold and everything, I had almost overdone it. A sensible person would have been spending the day resting on the sofa with a warm lemon drink and a box of tissues. Perhaps next time we will pay the hefty admission fees required to enter Hardwick New Hall. I shall start saving.
Shirley in the woods at Hardwick

22 comments:

  1. I expect all that fresh air was good for you. I hope you haven't given the vicar your cold.

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    1. I hope so too. Though lucid he was an old man who was just filling in that day.

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  2. A warm lemon drink and box of tissues makes for boring photos, I'm glad you got out.

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    1. I'm like an Aussie bushman - nothing stops my blogging journey.

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  3. Roy: people aren't naming their kids "Roy" any more, are they? I had my first serious crush on a boy named Roy at school because (I thought) he looked like George Harrison and since then, I've always liked the name Roy.

    Sorry, I got side tracked. If I remember, it's hard to tell Bess of Hardwick from Elizabeth I because they looked a lot alike but it's obvious that the two ladies were equally headstrong and smart. How daring of Bess to insist on having church-size windows in her own home.

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    1. There's a local saying about Hardwick New Hall - "More window than wall". As for Roy - even though old names are more in fashion in England right now - Roy has remained in its box. I think it is a good name and "Viv n' Roy" would have looked so cool on a car's windscreen.

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  4. I love how they call it Hardwick "New" Hall even though both of them are from the sixteenth century! Looks like an interesting place to visit. How much were the entrance fees??

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    1. New Hall £13.76
      (without gift aid) (National Trust)
      Old Hall £6.50
      (without gift aid) (English Heritage)

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  5. Replies
    1. And I have always hated the name Roth Phallyka.

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  6. The peeping sheep is an inspiration

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    1. Thanks John.Did you mean an inspiration to roast mutton?

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  7. Yes...a sensible person would have stayed at home, indoors, not gone off gallivanting around the world!!! And there I was thinking you were a sensible person, Yorkie!!!

    Why is it, I wonder, there is always an animal of some description staring at you? They, too, wonder, I guess, why you're not at home trying to get better! Get better, laddie!! :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind concern matron. I think a bed bath is in order.

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  8. It's always interesting to think that since many of your buildings are Made from stone they last for a very long time.

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    1. But in the end, even the exposed stone is impermanent. Nothing lasts forever.

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  9. I thought the peeping sheep was a peeping goat with those fancy horns. Shirley looks quite at home in the little house of rope and sticks.

    Alphie

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    1. I believe the breed is Jacob's Sheep.

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  10. Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thursday morning - a week after the poorliness began - I have woken up feeling much better thank you Jenny.

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  11. Still looks and sounds like a great day out. I hope you are much better now; the fresh air probably did you some good, too.
    Sheep watching you from the trees sounds as if they were ON the trees, looking down at you :-) But of course I know what you mean (plus the picture leaves no doubt).

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    1. Good point about "from the trees". I can see how that misunderstanding might happen.

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