Well worth a visit!
Well worth a visit!
Hardwick Hall is one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. The great house was built in Elizabethan times by Bess of Hardwick – the Countess of Shrewsbury – to display her fabulous wealth. The story of Bess herself is incredible – how she rose from a modest farmer’s daughter to become the richest woman in the land (even richer than Queen Elizabeth I).
The house has been built ‘upside down’. Right through the front door you enter the servant’s hall. All of the service rooms, kitchen, servants’ quarters are on the ground floor. The higher floors are for the family and their noble and royal guests, with the best rooms being right at the top. Bess felt that the best views should be enjoyed by the wealthy people and that they should literally be ‘above’ the help.
Reception room. Notice the traditional rush matting on the floor. Carpets were too expensive for the floor and instead they adorned walls and tables.
Gorgeous painted plaster work. The Long Gallery. Famous portrait of Bess’s friend Elizabeth I. Somewhere for the Queen to sit down.Bess’s coat of arms again.Dining room. Bedrooms. A guide with school children – the sort of thing I used to do at Speke Hall.
Yes, yes, yes – sorry it’s been a year since I embarked on this jaunt and I still haven’t completed my posts on it. In the meantime we have moved house and we are now three quarters of our way through a home renovation, which has been taking all of my time.
I then drove to the nearby village of Ilam:
On my way back to Matlock, I stopped at the little town of Matlock Bath:
Sorry for the delay in posting about this trip – it’s been about two months since I got back! This was night time view from my bedroom window at Glendon Guest House, the bed and breakfast in Matlock. Lovely, but that clock strikes every fifteen minutes all night…
On the morning of my second day I visited Chatsworth, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It is, I think, the most beautiful stately home I have ever visited – not just for the house itself and its fabulous interiors but also the absolutely idyllic setting in the Peak District.
A close up of the violin hanging on the door. The violin is not real – it is a trompe l’oeil, or trick of the eye, a two-dimensional painting created by the Dutch artist Jan van der Vaardt in the seventeenth century.
I had lunch at a nearby pub and then drove north to the small village of Eyam. In 1665 the plague came to Eyam and the villagers decided to quarantine themselves completely from the outside world in order to prevent the plague spreading. Their quarantine lasted fourteen months and three quarters of the villagers died.
Not all of the rock formations were natural. This is called Carl Wark and is a man-made structure, probably about 3,500 years old. It is unknown whether it was used as a hill fort or for large ceremonial gatherings.
It was late afternoon so I headed back to Matlock, which was about an hour’s drive. From memory there was a brief heavy rainstorm on my journey.
I began my Peak District jaunt by visiting Lyme Park, which lies on the edge of the Peak District in Cheshire. Lyme Park was the home of the Legh family for over 600 years until they passed their property to the National Trust in 1946. I haven’t seen the TV series Pride and Prejudice but apparently the spot in the photo above is where Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) encounters Miss Bennet after his swim in the lake.
After about thirty minutes I approached the town of Buxton.
Buxton is a spa town that has been famous for its spring waters since Roman times. In the 18th century it became a very fashionable place, even with its own Crescent built to rival Bath. The Crescent is currently being renovated.
This is Glendon Guest house, my lodgings.
There is a very comfortable sitting room next door to my room. I had a very nice dinner at a local Thai restaurant and am now getting ready for a good night’s sleep. I am concerned though, as the bells of St Giles Church just rang 10, so I am hoping they don’t go all through the night!