Building record MDR6067 - Hardwick Old Hall, Ault Hucknall

Type and Period (2)

  • (Elizabethan - 1578 AD to 1590 AD) + Sci.Date
  • (Medieval to Elizabethan - 1066 AD to 1583 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 46186366 OLD HALL [G.T.] In Ruins (1) John Hardwick, father of Bess of Hardwick, died in 1527. His son's inventory described "the house the barn yardes and dovecote yarde" and reckoned the rent-roll at 40s. A stone chimney stack, centre of south front, which, with some moulded oak balusters in the staircase, alone appears to have survived, points to the house having been a one-storey building, while an account of his daughter's suggests that it was half-timbered. Probably a typical farm-house of the time. Hardwick Old Hall, incorporating her father's house, was built by Bess of Hardwick, largely between 1578 and 1590 and is now in ruins. To the south of the hall was a Conduit House and a well. Where the well was is uncertain, but the Conduit House still stands (see SMR 215). (2) Hardwick Old Hall, an old manor house converted into a large mansion in the 1580s nearly 200ft long, with windows similar to those of the new Hall. Remains of plaster-work also very like that in the Presence Chamber of the new Hall. (3) The manor of Hardwick was granted by King John, in 1203, to Andrew de Beauchamp, and passed to the Hardwick family some time after 1330. (included is an historical account and description) (4) Hardwick Old Hall is under guardianship of the M.O.W. Ancient Monuments Board and an extensive programme of repair has been started. Due to the danger the ruins are not open to the public. Two outlying buildings are occupied by estate staff. The ruins of Hardwick Old Hall incorporate the twin gables one with a chimney stack - of an earlier house visible on the south front. The masonry - irregularly coursed with dressed stone detail - is, however, little different from the remaining walling and the difference in date is probably not great. Parts of the main block are still roofed, with original floors and timbering. A number of fine kitchen fire-places and some decorative details survive. M.O.W. staff have erected scaffolding on the south side of the main block and the state of the walling is being investigated. Rubbish has been cleared from a number of rooms open to the sky. (5) No change. (6) SK 463637. Hardwick Old Hall. Scheduled No 121 (7) Ruins of Old Hardwick Hall. Grade 2*. (8) Hardwick Old Hall. Country House, now derelict. Early 16th cent and 1587-90.Grade I. (9) In 1994 conservation work was carried out on the southern half of the Old Hall. Whilst scaffolding was still in place, the opportunity was taken to investigate the larger of the two fireplaces in the kitchen. It was 3.6m wide and 0.9m deep, with a separate oven on its west side. Within the same wall thickness were several bread ovens. At either end of the fireplace there were inglenooks, presumably for warming pots. Some features of later construction were noted, probably dating to the 18th or 19th century when only the west range of the Hall continued in use, providing residence for people working in the New Hall. During the construction of a new drainage channel near the Old Hall as part of the conservation work, the footing of a substantial wall came to light. The thickness of the wall suggests it may pre-date the existing Hall and originate in an earlier phase. At around the same time, a hole dug out in the service quarter revealed disturbance which may relate to a previous stairway feature. (11) In 1998 it was evident that further deterioration had taken place within the fireplace; consequently additional recording was undertaken with a view to consolidation and rebuilding, with some of the interpretation being based on surviving examples elsewhere. (12) A watching brief was undertaken in 1997 on ground disturbances from service trenches and within floor areas of two buildings, the West Lodge [see SMR 270] and an outbuilding, where floors were to be replaced. Evidence from the outbuilding suggests it is of late 18th or 19th century construction and that it had a partly agricultural function. Its west wall was found to overlie the lower coursing of what appears to be a continuation of the main boundary wall. A small portion of walling was also found in a service trench. It ran parallel to the Lodge's north wall and is of unknown provenance. (13) A resistivity survey was conducted in the North Courtyard of Hardwick Old Hall and the open east area of the Hall during National Archaeology Weekend (July 24 & 25, 1999). This coincided with an independent survey of the same area by invited dowsers from the East Midlands Dowsing Group. Linear features were identified from the resistivity, while the dowsing produced rather more ambiguous results. (14) Tree-ring analysis of 86 samples of timber with a wide-ranging distribution within Hardwick Old Hall were analysed. The majority of timbers appear to have been felled over a short period in the 16th century especially for the construction of the Hall. However, some timbers appear to have been re-used, having originally been felled in the very late 15th to very early 16th centuries. These may have been original to the earlier minor manor house known to have existed on the site and to have been incorporated into the Old Hall. (15) Thirteen samples from the staircase timbers of the West Lodge were analysed by tree-ring dating. A single site chronology of ten samples with 228 rings spanning the period AD 1397- AD 1625. Interpretation of the sapwood suggests that all the dated timbers are from a single phase felling dated to AD 1625. (16) 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 desiged 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. (17) For SMRs on Hardwick Hall, see: Hardwick Old Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 214) Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 216) Hardwick Park, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 207) Conduit House, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 215) Gardens and pleasure grounds, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 217) Courtyard and wall, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 264)

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Map: OS 6" 1914-39.
  • <2> Article in serial: Stallybrass, B. 1913. 'Bess of Hardwick's buildings and building accounts', Archaeologia. Volume 64, pp 347-398, plates.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1953. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, 1st edition. pp 39, 148-55.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Stately Homes of Eng 1 1874 116-52 Illus (L Jewitt, S C Hall).
  • <5> Personal Observation: F1 WW 02-DEC-59.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F2 JB 09-JUN-66.
  • <7> Scheduling record: Department of the Environment. 1978. DOE (IAM) AMs Eng. 3.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HHR) Blackwell RD Derby Sept 1961 2.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HHR) Dist of Bolsover Derby 23 Mar 1989 3.
  • <10> Index: NDAT. 0050. 0050.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Sheppard, R. 1994. Archaeological Recording at Hardwick Old Hall, June-September 1994.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Sheppard, R. 1999. Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire: The Archaeology and Conservation of the Great Fireplace, 1998.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Gilbert, D & Sheppard, R (TPAT). 1997. Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire: Archaeological Recording, May-July 1997.
  • <14> Unpublished document: Sheppard, R & Malone, S J. 1999. Remote-Sensing Surveys at Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire. National Archaeology Weekend 1999..
  • <15> Unpublished document: Howard, R E, Laxton, R R & Litton, C D. 2002. Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from Hardwick Old Hall, Doe Lea, Nr Chesterfield, Derbyshire. English Heritage Report 56/2002.
  • <16> Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 2002. Centre for Archaeology Reports, tree-ring analysis.
  • <17> Bibliographic reference: Stanley, M. 1990. Carved in bright stone: sources of building stone in Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 46151 63678 (74m by 55m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (12)

  • EDR2332
  • EDR3697
  • EDR2342
  • EDR737
  • EDR924
  • EDR2346
  • EDR2344
  • EDR2349
  • EDR2345
  • EDR2333
  • EDR2331
  • EDR2343

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Sep 1 2015 4:18PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.