Bess Hardwick

Elizabeth Hardwick (abt. 1521 - abt. 1608)

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Elizabeth (Bess) "of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewbury" Hardwick
Born about in Ault Hucknull, Hardwick, Derbyshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married (to ) [location unknown]
Wife of — married (to ) in Bradgate, Leicester, Englandmap
Wife of — married about (to ) [location unknown]
Wife of — married (to ) in London, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died about in Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 2 Dec 2010 | Last significant change: 30 Jun 2019
02:40: Simon Daniell edited the Biography for Elizabeth Hardwick (abt.1521-abt.1608). [Thank Simon for this]
This page has been accessed 4,828 times.
Bess Hardwick was a member of aristocracy in the British Isles.
This profile is part of the Cavendish Name Study.



Bess Hardwick is Notable.

Elizabeth "Bess" Hardwick (b. c. 1527 - d. 13 Feb 1607/8 Hardwick, Derbyshire).[1]

bur. Allhallows, Derby, Derbyshire (next to William Cavendish).[1]

Bess was the daughter of a "impoverished gentlemen," John Harwick (c. 1495 - 29 Jan 1528).[2][3] He died when Bess was just a year old. To improve her standing, she became a woman in waiting in the household of the Zouche family, where she met her first husband: Robert, son of Arthur Barley. The marriage was short since Robert died a year after marriage, which would eventually bring Bess a signifcant widow's dower.[2]

She had eight children by her second husband, William Cavendish.[4] Her third and childless marriage with William St. Loe, captain of the Yeomen's guard seems to have been arranged by Queen Elizabeth,[5] but according to McDonald (2012), it was really Bess.[2]

Her last marriage to George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury ended in separation due to the stress of housing Mary, Queen of Scots. But Talbot died in 1590, and she became the Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury.[6] [7]


  • Countess of Shrewsbury[8][9]
  • Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury
  • Lady of the Bedchamber


  • Father: John Hardwick[8]


m.1 (abt. 1535) Robert Barlow / Barley (d. Dec 1535).[8] No issue.[10]

m.2 (20 Aug1547) Sir William Cavendish (d. 25 Oct 1557). Issue: 8.[4]

  • 1. Henry (1550-1616) of Tutbury, Staff.[11][12]
m. Grace Talbot[13]
  • 2. William Cavendish of Chatsworth and Hardwick, 1st Earl of Devonshire (27 Dec 1552 – 3 Mar 1626).[14]
  • 3. Sir Charles (1553-1617) of Welbeck Abbey, Notts.[8]
m. Catherine Ogle[13][15]
  • Frances
m. Henry Pierrepont[6][16]
  • Temperance "died young"[17]
  • Elizabeth (d. Jan 1582)
m. (ante 22 Dec 1574) Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox (d.1576)[18]
  • Mary (1556-1632)
m. Gilbert Talbot (1553- 08 May 1616)[19]

m.3 (1559) Sir William St Loe (1518–1565), Capt. - Yeoman of the Guard[5]

m.4 (1568) George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury.[20] No issue.


  • Elizabeth Goldring, ‘Talbot , Elizabeth [Bess of Hardwick], countess of Shrewsbury (1527?–1608)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 25 Sept 2017. This is a subscription site but access is free to readers of British libraries whose library subscribes.
  • Cavendish, M. (1872). The Life of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, pp. 195-196. London: John Russell Smith. Google Books.[15][21]
  • Chalmers, A. (1813). The General Biographical Dictionary, 8, pp. 475. London. Google Books.[16][22]
  • Dransfield, J.N. (1906). A History of the Parish of Penistone, pp. 525-526. Penistone: Don Press.[17][23]
  • Goodhart, A. (2006, June 25). "Bess of Hardwick: Empire builder by Mary S. Lovell." NYT. Web. Book review.[18]
  • McDonald, H. (2012). Bess of Hardwick: Second Most Powerful Woman of the Elizabethan Age and a Symbol of Modern Thought. Grand Valley Journal of History, 2(1).[19][20]
  • Standish, J. (1904). Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 8, pp. 19-20. Cooke & Vowles.[21][4]
Citations and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Lewis, M. (n.d.). "Elizabeth Hardwicke #37839, b. circa 1527, d. 13 Feb 1608," (citing Cokayne; Richardson; Paget). Web.[1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 McDonald, 2012
  3. Lewis, M. (n.d.). "John Hardwicke, Esq. #37847, b. circa 1495, d. 29 Jan 1528," citing Paget and Richardson. ORTNCA. Web.[2]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 At "twelve years of age... (she) was betrothed to Mr. Robert Barlow, near Chesterfield - his mother was a Chaworth - he was fourteen years of age, and died next year... she was married three times again, and was buried in All Saints' Church, Derby, where her monument appears," (p. 19).
    Bess m. (as his 3rd wife) Sir William Cavendish (d. 1557). "They were married at Bradgate, co. Leicester, at 2 a.m. .. Cavendish widowed Bess (age 37) and left "8 young children." ... Bess remarried to "Sir William St. Loe, of Tormarton, co. of Gloucester, Captain of the Guard to Queen Elizabeth. As Lady St. Loe, she was sent to the Tower for being confidante to the marriage of Lady Catharine Grey to Edward Seymour, and not disclosing it... In 1568 Lady St. Loe was married to George, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who was then accounted the greatest subject of the realm. In 1569 the Queen of Scots was placed in their charge; after a time the Countess became jealous of the Queen, and she separated from her husband," (p. 20).[3]
    see also: Space:Transactions of the Thoroton Society
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alias: St Lowe, Saintlowe, Sentloe, etc.; "Sir William St Loe was the eldest son of Sir John St Loe and his wife Dame Margaret of Sutton Court, Chew Magna in Somerset; they also had land in Gloucestershire and the West Country where they owned property in Bristol and Bath," ("Sir William St Loe (b?-1566) 15th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1558-1566." Web).William St Loe
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wikipedia: Bess of Hardwick
  7. Arbitration and Elite Honour in Elizabethan England: A Case Study of Bess of Hardwick by Dr Francis Calvert Boorman. Journal of dispute Resolution, Vol 2016, Issue 1 (2016), Art 5. (Full text available online).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Cavendish, Sir Charles (1553-1617), of Welbeck Abbey, Notts. HOP. Web.[4]
  9. 4th husband's right
  10. Cavendish: Page 195-6: "died before they were bedded together, they being both very young."
  11. Lewis, M. (n.d.). "Sir William Cavendish, Burgess of Thirsk, Treasurer of the Chamber of King Henry VIII #37832, b. circa 1505, d. 25 Oct 1557," citing Richardson; Cokayne; Burke. ORTNCA. Web.[5]
  12. Cavendish, Henry (1550-1616), of Tutbury, Staffs. HOP. Web.[6]
  13. 13.0 13.1 Lee, S. (1887). Cavendish, William (1505?-1557) (DNB00). Web.[7]
  14. Wikipedia: William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire;
    Cavendish William II (1551-1626), of Chatsworth and Hardwick, Derbys. HOP. Web.[8]
    Cavendish, William (d.1626) (DNB00).[9]
    Grove, J. (1764). "The life of William, the first earl of Devonshire," in the Lives of All the Earls and Dukes of Devonshire, Descended from the Renowned Sir William Cavendish. Google Books.[10]
  15. Ogle, H.A. (1902). Ogle And Bothal: A History of the Baronies of Ogle, Bothal, and Hepple, and of the Families of Ogle and Bertram. Print.[11]
  16. Flower, W. (1871). "Perpoynt" in the Visitations of the County of Nottingham in the Years 1569 and 1614, IV, pp. 56. The Publications of The Harleian Society. London: The Society. [12]
    Browning, C.H. (1891). Americans of Royal Descent: A Collection of Genealogies of American Families, 2nd ed, pp. 613. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates. Google Books.[13]
  17. 17.0 17.1 Wikipedia: Bess of Hardwick#Second marriage
  18. Wikipedia: Elizabeth Stuart, Countess of Lennox. Accessed 15 Jan 2014;
    Elizabeth Cavendish, (Lewis, n.d.).[14]
  19. Emerson, K. L. (2008). "A Who’s Who of Tudor Women: C-Ch." Kate Merson Historicals. Web. Accessed 15 Jan 2014.
  20. Separated abt. 1580
  21. see also: Space:The Life of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle
  22. see also: Space: The General Biographical Dictionary
  23. Bess married Robert Barley when she was age 14; m.2 Sir William Cavendish; m.3 "Sir William St. Lo, captain of the guard to Queen Elizabeth"; m.4 Earl of Shrewsbury. ... "She built Chatsworth, Hardwicke Hall, and Oldcotes, three of the finest mansions ever raised by one person in the same county, and these were transmitted to her son, Sir William Cavendish, who was afterwards create Earl of Devonshire. Tradition asserts that it was foretold to her that so long as she kept building so long would her life be spared, and that the moment she ceased would be the moment of her death. She therefore continued to build house after house. At length while erecting some almshouse at Derby a sever frost set in. Every means was resorted to enable the men to continue their work. The mortar was dissolved in hot water; and when that failed hot ale was employed. But the frost triumphed, the work ceased, and "Building Bess" died."
    see also: Space:A History of the Parish of Penistone

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Images: 4
Bess Hardwick
Bess Hardwick

Cavendish descendants by Stevens (2008)
Cavendish descendants by Stevens (2008)

Cavendish pedigree by Hunter (1814)
Cavendish pedigree by Hunter (1814)

Memoirs of William Cavendish: Marriage entries
Memoirs of William Cavendish: Marriage entries


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On 11 Mar 2018 at 19:46 GMT Amelia (Parrish) Vidrick wrote:

"Bess of Hardwick: Portrait of an Elizabethan Dynasty" by David N. Durant, Pg. 1, 2nd Paragraph states, "Bess was married at age about 15 to Robert Barley." skip down a couple sentences: "They were married in1543"

This would make Bess born ABOUT 1528.

Robert was about 12 yrs old., but died the year after they were married," before they were bedded together, they being very young". It was all about having healthy male heirs.

On 25 Sep 2017 at 10:50 GMT Robin Wood wrote:

Some entries suggest that she was not of ful age when she married Robert Barlow, hence she could not have been born much before about 1519, I see the entry in odnb has a question over the 1627 date. So there is some doubt

On 25 Sep 2017 at 10:43 GMT Robin Wood wrote:

What dates are you sugesting?

On 25 Sep 2017 at 09:10 GMT C. Mackinnon wrote:

ODNB gives a later date both for Bess's birth and first marriage. Says Robert Barlow died 24 December 1544.

On 25 Jun 2017 at 01:56 GMT Bree Ogle wrote:

  • need better citation for dau. Lucrece (Lucretia), said to have died young.

On 24 Sep 2013 at 19:28 GMT Kathleen X (Dance) Deveril wrote:

Elizabeth Hardwick, born 1520 at Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. Hardwick Hall is in the Parish of St John the Baptist, Ault Hucknall. Elizabeth married George Talbot, 6th EARL of Shrewsbury. She was

The Hardwick origins are from the County of Derbyshire. The Hardwick Family moved into other counties, particularly, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire etc etc.

"The Reliquary" a journal of archaeology and natural history, produced by the Derbyshire Archeological Ass. carry articles about the Hardwicks and other land owners in Derbyshire. See also publication entitled "The Victoria County Histories". There are Volumes for each UK county.

Rejected matches › Anne Brown (abt.1480-1582)

Bess is 18 degrees from Jim Angelo, 15 degrees from Willis Carrier and 5 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.