Bess of Hardwick’s Letters

Bess of Hardwick’s Letters contains the complete correspondence, ca.1550-1608, of Bess of Hardwick. Bess of Hardwick (ca.1521/2-1608) 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.

Her correspondence includes servant, friends, family, queens, and officers of state. This website contains transcripts 234 letters to and from Bess (diplomatic, normalised, print-friendly, or xml transcriptions), high-definition colour images of 185 letters and the option to create your own transcripts, and extensive background information.

Basic and advanced search are available. Extensive browsing and filtering options are also available: according to letter features, handwriting, joint senders or recipients, life events, or letters with images.

The project is developed by the University of Glasgow, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and technical development by HRI Digital.

Last update

Monday, 2 November 2015 - 1:12pm
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