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

Bess of Hardwick (c.1521/2 or 1527-1608) 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. The story of her life told to date typically emphasises her modest birth, her rise through the ranks of society, her four husbands, each of greater wealth than the last, and her ambitious aggrandisement of her family.

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. 

You will find on this site:

Developed by

Developed by The University of Glasgow

Technical Development

Technical development by The Digital Humanities Institute

Funded by

Funded by the AHRC

'Bess of Hardwick's Letters' was developed by The University of Glasgow with technical development provided by The Digital Humanities Institute at The University of Sheffield
Version 1.0 | ISBN 978-0-9571022-3-1
© 2013 The University of Glasgow
Contact Us | Copyright and Citation Guide