Bess of Hardwick’s Letters

Bess of Hardwick’s Letters brings together, for the first time, the remarkable letters written to and from Bess of Hardwick

Bess of Hardwick is one of Elizabethan England’s most famous figures. She is renowned for her reputation as a dynast and indomitable matriarch and perhaps best known as the builder of great stately homes like the magnificent Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House.

Bess of Hardwick’s letters, which number almost 250 items of correspondence, bring to life her extraordinary story and allow us to eavesdrop on her world. Her letters allow us to reposition Bess as a complex woman of her times, immersed in the literacy and textual practices of everyday life, as her correspondence extends from servants, friends and family, to queens and officers of state.