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Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of

Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of (1518–1608). ‘Bess of Hardwick’ was one of the most remarkable women in Elizabethan England. The daughter of a Derbyshire squire, she gained wealth and status through four increasingly ambitious marriages, the last (in 1567) to George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury. Two alliances between their respective children created a dynastic structure. The Shrewsburys were given charge of Mary, queen of Scots (1569–84), but a daughter's marriage to Darnley's younger brother (the union producing Arabella Stuart) provoked Elizabeth I's displeasure. After the earl's death, Bess, intriguer, termagant, and by then the richest woman in the kingdom, was free to concentrate on her building and furnishing at Chatsworth and Hardwick Hall, and her extensive business concerns based on land and cash; her shrewdness, energy, and strength of purpose made her feared, but she could be generous and lavish. Two of her sons founded the dukedoms of Devonshire and Newcastle.

A. S. Hargreaves

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"Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrewsbury-elizabeth-talbot-countess

"Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrewsbury-elizabeth-talbot-countess

Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of

Elizabeth Talbot Shrewsbury, countess of (shrōz´bərē, shrōōz´–), 1520–1608, English noblewoman, known as Bess of Hardwick. At the age of 15 she married Robert Barlow, who died shortly afterward. She was married and widowed twice more, inheriting several large estates, before she was married in 1568 to George Talbot, 6th earl of Shrewsbury. The marriage (1574) of her daughter Elizabeth to Charles Stuart, brother of Lord Darnley, angered Queen Elizabeth I because Stuart had a claim to the throne, and the countess was sent to the Tower of London for three months. The countess quarreled with her husband and accused (1584) him of a love affair with Mary Queen of Scots, whose custodian he was (1569–84), but the couple was nominally reconciled before his death (1590). She built a number of great mansions, including Hardwick Hall.

See biography by M. W. Lovell (2007).

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"Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrewsbury-elizabeth-talbot-countess

"Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/shrewsbury-elizabeth-talbot-countess