Bess of Hardwick

New perspectives

Edited by Lisa Hopkins

Bess of Hardwick


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0129-7
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2019
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, Literature & literary studies / General, Literature, History & Archaeology, Elizabethan era (1558–1603), c 1500 onwards to present day, Biography: historical, political & military, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 16th Century


Bess of Hardwick was one of the most extraordinary figures of Elizabethan England. She was born the daughter of a country squire. But by the end of her long life (which a recent redating of her birth suggests was even longer than previously thought) she was the richest woman in England outside the royal family, had risen to the rank of countess and seen two of her daughters do the same and had built one of the major 'prodigy houses' of the period. While married to her fourth husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, she had been jailer to Mary, Queen of Scots, and her granddaughter by her second marriage, Lady Arbella Stuart, was of royal blood and might have succeeded to the throne of England. This wide-ranging collection brings out the full range of her activities and impact.


Introduction - Lisa Hopkins
1. Bess of Hardwick, a life - Alan Bryson
2. Money, marriage and remembrance: telling stories from the Cavendish financial accounts - Alison Wiggins
3. Bess's use of language - Imogen Julia Marcus
4. Upper servants' letters and loyalties in the Shrewsbury-Stuart domestic politics of the 1580s - Felicity Lyn Maxwell
5. Hardwick Hall: building a woman's house - Sara L. French
6. Elizabeth Hardwick's material negotiations - Jessica L. Malay
7. Bess of Hardwick's gynocracy in textiles - Susan Frye
8. A difficult and volatile alliance: the Countess of Shrewsbury and the Lady Arbella Stuart - Sara Jayne Steen
9. Conclusion - Lisa Hopkins
Selected bibliography


Lisa Hopkins is Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University

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