Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, originally dating to c1590 and altered in 1788 and 1860.
The new Hardwick Hall, started in 1591 and completed in 1597 by [the Countess of Shrewsbury] Bess of Hardwick, is basically H-shaped, with a double-stepped extension at each of its shorter ends. The entrance hall is remarkable in that it goes right across the middle of the house at right angles to the front. There is no known earlier example of this arrangement. The crenelated garden wall and gateway, triangular lodge and triangular, bastion- like summer pavilions are well preserved. (Included is a detailed description of the principal rooms.) (1)
Hardwick Hall, which has undergone no alteration, is a most complete specimen of Elizabethan domestic architecture "among the higher ranks". (Brief description, with mention of tapestry dated, in part, 1478). (2)
Detailed description of the building of the Hall, reference to Building Accounts and other ancient documents, list of rooms. See AO/59/314/5 & 6. (3)
'The Hall is controlled by the National Trust but is still the home of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Parts of the Hall are open to the public on payment. A ten-step programme of repair by the Trust and M.O.W. Ancient Monuments Branch is about to begin. The Hall is accurately described by Authority 2. An extension to the northeast is of more recent date but otherwise the building is a large mansion with outer walling and details all of one date of building. Accurately shown on the 25" AM survey.' (4)
Hardwick Hall. One of the major monuments of English architecture with splendid contemporary interior. Grade 1. (5)
The estate at Hardwick came into existence in the second quarter of the 13th century when land was granted by Robert Savage, lord of the manor of Stainsby, to a man named Jocelin, whose son William then held the estate until William's death in 1289. The first Hardwick actually mentioned was Roger Hardwick, who was granted the estate in 1391 by William Lowe of Chesterfield. The estate remained in the Hardwick family until William Cavendish purchased Hardwick Hall from his uncle, James Hardwick in 1583 for £9500. James Hardwick had previously enlarged the Hardwick estate and kept it as a whole, keeping it indirectly in the Hardwick family's hands until the purchase. (6)
It is possible, by reference to the building accounts of houses, to locate the sources of stone as both great and small houses generally obtained their stone from within a three mile radius; often a quarry or quarries would be opened specifically to supply a building. The prominent buildings on the Permian scarp, Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Halls, obtained their stone from quarries opened specifically for the building work. Robert Smythson designed Hardwick Hall for Bess of Hardwick as a large building with the revolutionary use of glass with work commencing in 1591. This and the earlier Hardwick Old Hall, a rebuilding by Bess of her brother's house of 1582-86, are both built of a Westphalian buff fine-grained sandstone, that below the Clowne Coal, quarried from just beneath the scarp off the drive up to the halls. (7)
A photographic survey of the east loggia was carried out in 2018 and indicated that it was a feature of the original construction of the hall. The roof was supported on a timber structure made of oak. It was divided into eight sections supported substantial ceiling beams orientated west-east. These timbers were not set at right angles to the main wall of the house, having been manoeuvred into position once the parapet had already been constructed. Secondary ceiling joists orientated north - south were tenoned and pegged in position, with a sequence of Roman numerals. Findings indicate that the roof underwent extensive repairs to the leads and sections of the supporting rafters and roof boards between 1966 and 1967. (8)
From the National Heritage List for England:
'SK 46 SE PARISH OF AULT HUCKNALL HARDWICK PARK 10/8 11.7.51 Hardwick Hall GV I
Country house now owned by the National Trust. 1590-1597, probably by Robert Smythson, for Bess of Hardwick, Alterations 1788. Service wing 1860 by S. Rollinson of Chesterfield. Sandstone ashlar, roofs hidden behind parapets. H-plan , with a double stepped extension at each end. Two storeys, with three storey towers, each over a basement storey. Moulded plinth, moulded string courses between each floor, and moulded eaves cornice. Openwork parapet and scrolled parapets enclosing the initials ES. West elevation of 1-1-2-6-2-1-1 symmetrical bays. The two bay parts are projecting towers. The centre six bays have to the ground floor a flat-roofed colonnade on eight Tuscan Doric banded columns. Within is a central doorway with moulded architrave and pair of doors. Flanked on each side by three 3-light mullioned and transomed windows, with ovolo mouldings. Moulded sills on brackets. The two storeys above have the centre two bays advanced, with a chamfered corner to the upper storey. Two 4-light windows, flanked on each side by pairs of 3-light windows. Two transoms to the lower tier and three transoms to the upper tier. The chamfered angles of the advanced bay have single light windows with three transoms. The projecting tower bays have pairs of 3-light windows placed close together, with, from the basement, one, two, three and two transoms. Similar 3-light windows to the return elevations. Extruded angle bays set back to the right have again similar 3- light windows. Tower bays to north and south repeat the elevations of those to the west and the elevations are symmetrical, having the return elevations of the east and west fronts. The east front is the same as the west except that it lacks the central doorway. Two storey service range to the north of c1860 by S. Rollinson. This has 3-light recessed and chamfered mullion windows and a balustraded parapet. Interior: The plan of Hardwick is exceptional for its date, having the hall placed symmetrically and at a right angle to the facade. The decoration is rich in contrast to the severity of the exterior to Flemish pattern books and to Serlio. The hall has a screen dividing off a lobby rather than the traditional passage. It was carved by William Griffin and has remarkably correct Roman Doric columns. It supports a first floor gallery providing access across the front of the house. Chimneypiece with strapwork and overmantel with the Hardwick crest. Plasterwork by Abraham Smith. The pantry is to the south, the buttery and kitchen to the north. The main staircase is to the south and the secondary staircase to the north, by the lower chapel which was originally open through two storeys and was converted into the Steward's room c1800. The main staircase is grand in a severe way, broad and shallow flight of unadorned stone steps. They lead to the drawing room which has plaster over-doors. The stairs lead on up to the state rooms. The Long Gallery runs the full length of the east side, 166 feet long. The Long Gallery has three huge bays and on the back wall two large fireplaces probably by Thomas Accres, loosely based on designs by Serlio, with coupled banded pilasters below and black columns above. In the middle are figures of Justice and Pity in oval frames surrounded by vigorous strapwork. The figures were added later. Frieze by John Ballergon. The High Great Chamber fills much of the west side of the house. Coloured plaster frieze by Abraham Smith, with forest scenes. Panelling. Fireplace attributed to Accres, with the Royal Arms by Smith over it and breaking into the frieze. The Withdrawing room is in the centre of the west front and has a large alabaster relief of Apollo & the Muses, brought to the house in the C19. To the north are two lower rooms; the Green Velvet Room which has a fireplace with a central figure of Charity, carved and inlaid by Nayll, Mallery and Accres. The Blue Bedroom has an overmantel carved with the Marriage of Tobias, probably not original to the house. The back stairs descend to the Dining Room which has an overmantel with strapwork and female nudes. The Cut Velvet Room has a strapwork overmantel with a relief of Ceres by Smith. The Chapel has a simple panelled screen. Other rooms have similar Elizabethan chimneypieces as well as some early C18 panelling and decoration. Sources:Robert Smythson & the Elizabethan Country House by Mark Girouard, Yale University Press 1983.
Listing NGR: SK4630563733.'