The West Court
The main entrance to Hardwick was originally surfaced with cobbles for horses and carriages but now boasts two fine lawns.
These are surrounded by mixed borders made of unusual tender plants, propagated from cuttings each year.
In 1833 the lawns were laid out in formal parterres in the shape of Bess of Hardwick's initials, 'E.S.' which stand for Elizabeth Shrewsbury, the owner and creator of Hardwick.
The North Court
This court used to be an orchard and old records suggest it being 'timber covered' with ash and elm trees which would have been harvested for use on the estate.
With the relocation of the car park as part of the Stableyard project, we have exciting plans to restore the courtyard. Keep checking back for further details.
The East Court
Before, this was a simply grassed area. Today you can see the influence of Lady Evelyn, the 9th Duke of Devonshire’s wife who introduced the shrub roses into the borders in the 1950s.
The pond in the middle of the lawn was built in 1913 as a fire pond with an under-turf roadway to stop the fire appliances sinking into the grass.
The South Court
This is the largest of the four courtyards at Hardwick. It is believed that in Bess’s time, during the second half of the 1500s, it was used for growing vegetables.
However, in the 1860s records suggest that it was simply a grass paddock until Lady Louisa Egerton, daughter of the 7th Duke of Devonshire, re-designed it in 1870 and her influence can still be seen.
The quadrants contained vegetable plots, orchards, herb gardens and a nuttery, very similar to what can be seen today.