Stately Home In Elizabethan England

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‘The main reason for building a stately home in Elizabethan times was to demonstrate the successful career of its owner’ How far does the study of Hardwick Hall support this statement?

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury or simply ‘Bess of Hardwick’ was one of the most notable figures in Elizabethan society made rich by four beneficial marriages and her investments in glass and mining. Her stately home ‘Hardwick Hall’ is the prime example of the upper tier of Elizabethan society. How they presented themselves, how they lived and how they advertised their wealth. But to what extent does the building tell us about the purpose of other stately homes and the impression the owners are trying to make? To answer this question, we will look at the reasons Hardwick Hall is as it is, what Bess is trying to convey or prove. Namely, her wealth, intellect and pedigree. Her right to be where she is, the cutting of ties to her lesser life and the importance of herself in the Shrewsbury dynasty.

Hardwick Hall is Elizabeth’s way of exhibiting her great wealth. She, by both marriage and successful business ventures, became the second richest woman in England at
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In the long gallery of Hardwick Hall there are portraits of people from the Cavendish family. Bess married Sir William Cavendish and had eight children by him. She insists even in her final identity to exhibit everything she was, everything she is connected to. The purpose of this being so she can be however she wants to be; Hardwick, Cavendish, St Loe or Shrewsbury. Above Hardwick are two letters ‘E.S’ Elizabeth Shrewsbury. The person she will be remembered to be is Elizabeth Shrewsbury. She is saying with these initials that she was the wealth and brains behind this mansion. But this is nothing to do with success in business, it shows that she has been part of many families and many dynasties but not her

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