- ISBN 978 0 7206 1078 9
Bess of Hardwick
David N. Durant
This is a fascinating biography of an extraordinary woman that will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the sixteenth century and in Tudor history.
Born the daughter of an impoverished Derbyshire squire, through a succession of advantageous marriages, Bess of Hardwick moved closer and closer to a position of power and influence in the heart of the royal court. As the Countess of Shrewsbury she was the second most powerful woman in the land after Queen Elizabeth I. However, Bess of Hardwick was not just someone who married well but a formidable and talented business woman who ran her estates with great acumen and who became one of the richest women in England. Queen Elizabeth I held Bess in such esteem that she entrusted her with the important and arduous task of acting as jailer to Mary, Queen of Scots. During her lifetime Bess built two great country houses which are still admired today - Chatsworth and Hardwick - and fulfiled her lifetime's ambition of founding a great dynasty. By the end of the nineteenth century her blood was flowing through most of the aristocratic families of England and she more than guaranteed her status as one of the most remarkable women in Tudor history.
'The most authentic account of her [Bess of Hardwick] and her activities that we have.' – Sunday TelegraphDAVID N DURANT is a lecturer and broadcaster and has contributed to many journals and magazines, including History Today and Country Life. He spent a great deal of time researching this book in the archives of Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House and in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington.
'Both the buildings of Hardwick and Bess's subsequent way of life there are vividly bought to life . . . the story remains a fascinating one, told in fascinating detail.' – TLS