The Last Mansion Built by Bess of Hardwick

by Pamela Kettle

Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury built three great houses in north Derbyshire — Hardwick, Chatsworth and Oldcotes — of which the third was almost entirely demolished at the beginning of the eighteenth century and has since been largely forgotten. This book pieces together, for the first time, the history of Oldcotes, built in the 1590s a few miles from Hardwick for Bess's second son William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire. The estate was sold by the 3rd Earl in 1641 to Robert Pierrepont, Earl of Kingston, and remained in the hands of his descendants until 1910.

As well as unravelling the history of the estate, this new study illustrates and discusses a drawing by Robert Smythson which may be a design for Oldcotes and compares it with later (previously unused) evidence for the original appearance of the house and layout of the gardens and park. It also prints in full a hitherto unpublished probate inventory of the mansion taken in 1666, which lists the contents of over 50 rooms.

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Paperback, 96 pages, 26 plates

ISBN 1 898937 38 7