On the way to Festival of Quilts I stopped off at Hardwick Hall.
Or rather Hardwick Halls as there are two.

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (c.1527-1608) purchased the Old Hall after her brother died a debtor and the estate was taken by the Crown.  She restored it around 1597 and later began building the New Hall.

She was married four times, each time increasing both her status and wealth.
Not sure if she was lucky, unlucky or a shrewd business woman.  
I suspect all the above. 
She owned several properties including Chatsworth House.

Here’s a view from the Old to the New. 

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When the family moved into the new hall the old was retained for…. well retainers.
Servants, merchants and such.

Old Hardwick Hall
You can still see some of the amazing plasterwork.

Old Hardwick Hall 3

The whole place was alive with history.

Old Hardwick Hall 2
And wonderful textures.

Old Hardwick Hall  texture

Across the lawn was the new hall.

Hardwick Hall

Then to the “new hall”
Where I took lots of photographs of the gold work and other embroidery but the light was so low they aren’t wonderful so here is a Google link instead.

One of the first houses built with an amazing amount of glass, which unfortunately you can’t appreciate as the curtains are kept half drawn. 

There is a sad tale of Arabella (Arbella) Stuart, Bess’s granddaughter.  She was linked through various connections to the Tudors and Stuarts and had a valid claim to the throne after Elizabeth I died.  Her great grandmother was sister to Henry VIII, she was cousin to King James I and In the way of such things she was refused marriage, kept a virtual prisoner here and then a prisoner in the Tower of London where she died of ill health and self imposed starvation.